Skin cancer can develop even where the sun doesn’t shine

A new study is the first to prove that SPF-30 sunscreens already on the market can not only protect you from sunburns, but can prevent the development of melanoma, an aggressive and deadly form of skin cancer.
A new study proves that SPF 30 sunscreens already on the market can not only protect you from sunburns, but can prevent the development of melanoma, an aggressive and deadly form of skin cancer. (Courtesy the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center) (Courtesy the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center)
In a first of its kind study, researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center in Columbus, Ohio prove that sunscreens with an SPF-30 rating can prevent the formation of melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer. (Courtesy the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center)
In a first of its kind study, researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center in Columbus, Ohio, prove that sunscreens with an SPF 30 rating can prevent the formation of melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer. (Courtesy the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center) (Courtesy the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center)
Kelly Haldeman, of Bucyrus, Ohio, is diligent about using sunscreen after she was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma at the age of 20.
Kelly Haldeman, of Bucyrus, Ohio, is diligent about using sunscreen after she was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma at the age of 20. (Courtesy the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center) (Courtesy the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center)
(1/3)
A new study is the first to prove that SPF-30 sunscreens already on the market can not only protect you from sunburns, but can prevent the development of melanoma, an aggressive and deadly form of skin cancer.
In a first of its kind study, researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center in Columbus, Ohio prove that sunscreens with an SPF-30 rating can prevent the formation of melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer. (Courtesy the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center)
Kelly Haldeman, of Bucyrus, Ohio, is diligent about using sunscreen after she was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma at the age of 20.
Experts warn that skin cancer is an equal-opportunity offender, and it can afflict anyone, at any age, of all skin types on nearly any part of the body.

“While we don’t see it as often in people with darker skin, a lot of time when we do find it, it’s at a more advanced stage,” said Dr. Llana Pootrakul, a dermatologist at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.

To encourage you to pay attention and potentially detect skin cancer early, Pootrakul wants you to realize everyone can be susceptible, and regular skin checks even where the sun doesn’t shine is very important.

“We can get more rare skin cancers in areas such as the groin or the buttocks that aren’t necessarily associated with the sun, but can also be very dangerous,” Pootrakul said. “You definitely want to keep an eye on the inside of your mouth as well.”

Skin cancers can develop with only limited exposure to the sun, which could be when you’re walking back and forth between your car and home, the grocery store or the bank, she said.

“All these small exposures accumulate over time,” Pootrakul said. “And, we know that these accumulations are associated with the development of squamous-cell skin cancers.”

Treating skin cancer is more effective with early detection. The most common sign of skin cancer is a change in your skin, such as a sore that doesn’t heal, a new growth, or a change in an old growth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Here are the ABCDE rule for early signs of melanoma:

  • A – Asymmetrical, the shape of one side doesn’t match the other.
  • B – Borders. The borders are jagged or blurry.
  • C – Color. Uneven color that might include shades of brown or black. And, perhaps areas of white, gray, red, pink, or blue.
  • D – Diameter. Melanomas can be tiny, but most are larger than a pea and usually change in size.
  • E – Evolution. The skin condition changes over time.

To help lower your chances of developing skin cancer, you can stay in the shade, cover up with a wide brim hat and long sleeves, use sunscreen and stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The survival rate for melanoma detected early is nearly 100%.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

© 2019 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up