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High factor sunscreen use cuts risk of skin cancer

High factor sunscreen use cuts risk of skin cancer

Wearing high factor sunscreen can cut your risk of melanoma skin cancer by a third, a new study claims.

The University of Oslo conducted a study of 140,000 women over 10 years and found that participants who wore at least SPF 15 cut their risk of developing cancer by 33 per cent.

Melanoma is the cancer with the strongest increase in incidence in the last decade. Now there are about 2,000 new cases of melanoma each year in Norway, while in the U.K. the skin cancer is the fifth most common cancer with around 13,000 new cases diagnosed each year.

However, the study results did present some conflicting evidence in that some people never applied sunscreen had a lower risk of skin cancer than those who wore low-factor sunscreen.

The researchers suggested that the reason for this may be that many people apply sunscreen incorrectly, or that those who apply sunscreen normally do so in order to prolong their time in the sun.

No sunscreen, regardless of how high the factor, can give 100 per cent protection.

“The explanation for this paradox is that some people use sunscreen to prolong sun exposure and acquire suntan,” said report author Reza Ghiasvand. “Moreover, many people don't apply the proper amount of sunscreen, forget to reapply and missed to apply on all exposed areas resulting in sunburn and increased risk of melanoma.”

Melanoma is not always preventable, but people can reduce the chances of developing it by limiting exposure to UV light.

The National Health Service (NHS) advises people to protect themselves from sun damage by using sunscreen and dressing sensibly in the sun. Sunbeds and sunlamps should also be avoided.

Regularly checking your moles and freckles can help lead to an early diagnosis and increase your chances of successful treatment.

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