Reducing the risk of melanoma in young adults

Reducing the risk of melanoma in young adults

19 July 2018

A study from The University of Sydney, Cancer Council QLD and The University of Melbourne has revealed that Australians aged 18-40 years who regularly applied sunscreen in their formative years reduced their risk of developing melanoma by 40 per cent, compared to those who did not.

The case-controlled family study, funded under the name of The Melanoma Family Study, used 603 patients and 1088 controls from the Australian Melanoma Family data. The participants were from Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

This is the first study to examine sunscreen use in childhood and early adulthood and the risk of melanoma before age 40.

Sun exposure, sunburn and sunscreen use at the ages of 10, 15, and 20 years and the subsequent decade years were collected. The study highlights that sunscreen is an effective form of sun protection and reduces the risk of developing melanoma as a young adult.

Lead researcher Associate Professor Anne Cust said, “People should regularly use sunscreen to reduce risk of melanoma, both in childhood and adulthood.“Despite sunscreen being widely available and recommended for sun protection, optimising the use of sunscreen remains a challenge and controversies continue to surround its use”, she said.

Melanoma Institute Australia recommends the following sun safe rules to minimise melanoma risk:

  • Seek shade
  • Wear sunglasses
  • Wear a broad-brimmed hat
  • Cover up with sun protective clothing
  • And of course, apply and re-apply SPF 50+ suncreen