Sunscreen Can Provide Protection From Melanoma, Study Finds

Posted: Apr 18 2016, 6:55am CDT | by , Updated: Apr 18 2016, 9:33pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News


Sunscreen can Provide Protection from Melanoma, Study Finds
Photo Credit: Getty Images

New research suggests that SPF30 sunscreen can reduce the risk of most deadly skin cancer by 80%.

We already know that sunscreen absorbs harmful ultraviolent rays of the Sun and helps protect from sunburn. But new research reveals an additional benefit of sunscreen application. Sunscreen can provide protection from melanoma too.

Researchers from Ohio State University have found that using sun protection factor 30 (SPF 30) had reduced the risk of melanoma in laboratory mice designed to test the impacts of the product on disease.

Melanoma is a type of cancer that typically occurs in the skins and mostly develops from a mole. The primary cause of the onset of melanoma is too much exposure to ultraviolent rays of the Sun. 

“Over the past 40 years, the melanoma incidence rate has consistently increased in the United States,” said principal investigator of the research Christin Burd. “Sunscreens are known to prevent skin from burning when exposed to UV sunlight, which is a major risk factor for melanoma. However, it has not been possible to test whether sunscreen prevent melanoma, because these are generally manufactured as cosmetics and tested in human volunteers or synthetic skin models.

To determine the effects of sunscreen on melanoma, researchers developed a model mouse and tested the product’s ability in terms of prevention from the disease. Sunscreens which contained a range of UV blocking agents were applied to the genetically engineered mice. All the sunscreens delayed melanoma onset and reduced tumor prevalence. The risk was cut by 80% to about five weeks.

It is the first time when researchers have been able to prove the effectiveness of sunscreen against the deadliest form of skin cancer and they believe that this finding can help develop new and more effective ways to treat melanoma.

“There were minor differences in melanoma prevention amongst the different SPF 30-labeled sunscreens,” said Burd. “However, we later discovered that even though the sunscreens were all marketed as SPF30, some were actually predicted to have a higher rating. For this reason, it is hard to compare the melanoma-preventing capacity of the different sunscreens at this time.” 

The findings are encouraging but the study itself has limitations. For instance, the UVB light which has been used in these experiments is equivalent to the amount of UVB exposure a person may experience in a weeklong stay on beach, which is too much for a sunscreen to deal with. Researchers are trying to overcome the limitations of the study.

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that is rising faster than any of other cancer and can spread to other parts of body if not treated.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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