Blistering Sunburns During Teen Years May Increase Melanoma Risk By 80%

| by Will Hagle

As summer approaches, it’s important for individuals to remain cautious regarding how often skin is left exposed to the sun. As the ominous ads in the subway stations of New York City have been reminding residents on a regular basis, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer over the course of a lifetime.

According to a new study published by American Association for Cancer Research journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, those who have had at least five blistering sunburns between the ages of 15 to 20 years old have a 68% increased risk for basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the skin, as well as an 80% increased risk of melanoma. As MDConnects notes, individuals exposed to the highest amounts of cumulative ultraviolet (UV) radiation in adulthood had “no increased risk for melanoma, but had a a 2.35-fold and 2.53-fold increased risk for developing BCC and SCC of the skin.” 

The study took place amongst 108,916 Caucasian nurses, whose progress was followed for about 20 years. 6,955 participants were diagnosed with BCC, 800 with SCC of the skin and 779 with melanoma. 445 of the 779 patients developed invasive cancer. 

There are a variety of factors that influence the development of various cancers of the skin, but the study’s statistics demonstrate how commonly the phenomenon actually occurs. The study also demonstrates the importance of taking the necessary precautions against UV rays as a child and teen in order to prevent complications later in life. 

According to the Huffington Post, melanoma kills 8,790 people each year.