Melanoma - sunscreen and the pill

Skin cancer risk factors - Suncreams have been found to offer inadequate protection against UVA, the more deeply penetrating form of sunshine and the contraceptive pill seems to double risk of melanoma.

UVA the cause of skin cancer, not UVB

With sun creams and lotions a £146 million business in the UK alone, a UK Professor has warned that they may not protect fully against UVA.

After a 13 year study, Professor Roy Saunders from Mount Vernon Hospital Restoration of Appearance and Function Trust (RAFT) concluded that none of the 3 top brands of sun creams tested was more than 80% effective against UVA. Originally UVB was thought to be the apparent danger in melanoma, but now more focus is being placed on UVA.

Sunscreen actually come with an SPF rating. This measures benefit against the burning rays of UVB. However, UVA is known to penetrate the skin to much deeper levels and the SPF factor does not take this into account.

In the USA, there's not even regulation by the FDA on claims made on labels.

Oestrogen contraceptive pill doubles risk of melanoma from sunshine

Meanwhile the National Cancer Institute in the USA has confirmed that women who are on the oestrogen pill have twice the risk of melanoma as those not on the pill when they go in the sun. This finding actually conflicts with a 1992 study(1) that only non-severe melanoma cases seemed to be linked to oral contraceptive use.

However, because of greater awareness of skin cancer and melanoma, there has been an enormous increase in stage 1 melanoma cases reported in recent years.

Chris Woollams, former Oxford Biochemist and a founder of CANCERactive commented, "Possibly, that is where the link is. Because there are far more stage 1 cases of melanoma being diagnosed, and that is the group providing the link to use of Oral Contraceptives, it skews all the figures. The incidence of stage 2-4 melanoma is not increasing." 

Go to: Overview on Melanoma and skin cancer




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