When sun rays turn from a cure into a disease: skin cancer cases up, solarium increases risk from 20 to 75%

Written by Salma Bou Assaf

Translated by Rabab Housseiny


NNA - With the advent of the summer time and the Lebanese flocking to the beach to get the tan they want, one must reconsider the way and duration of exposure to sun during this season, especially blond people, red heads, those with clear white skin, blue, green, or grey eyes, and those aged between 20 and 60.

Tattoos, colored spots, and freckles, for their part, are simply the weakest points for a considerable number of Lebanese.



Useful yet fatal rays

Studies have shown that sun rays, despite their many advantages, especially being the key source of vitamin D that protects the body from cancer basically, are at the same time a chief cause behind skin cancer.

We all need its light and warmth, but do we all know that when it's between 11 and 4 in the afternoon, the golden rays turn into ultra-violet enemies that menace our health and the safety of our skin?



The risk of attack

Within this context, Chief of the Dermatology Department at Mount Lebanon Hospital, Dr. Roy Motran, clarifies that the risk of having skin cancer has become very high in our societies because so many wish to have a bronze-tanned skin. He went on to say that the usage of solarium that tans the skin in less than three minutes exposes the skin to very high rates of ultra-violet rays.

"The human skin reflects a fragment of this ray while the remaining part infiltrates into the skin and destroys a number of living cells. On the long term, the skin suffers from dermatological anomalies like strong burns, ulcers, weakness, and wrinkles; the fiercest one is probably skin cancer.



The deadliest solarium

Do you know that solarium usage increases the risk of skin cancer between 20 and 75% especially among youth aged less than 35? Do you also know that the emanating UAVs are 15 times higher in the Mediterranean? Currently, a number of developed countries are seeking to impose taxes on solarium usage, just like the US where 170, 000 people are attacked by skin cancer yearly due to solarium usage.

Motran cited the most spread kinds of skin cancer as follows: Basal cell carcinoma (BCC), spinocellular carcinoma, and melanoma.



Strange contradiction

Even though exposure to sun is necessary to provide the body with vitamin D to resist cancer, the act is considered key behind skin cancer.



Factors

Dr. Motran confirms that the people of the Mediterranean are somehow protected from skin cancer risks since they enjoy a medium-to-dark skin color. But this is not enough. The Dr. enumerates many factors that might put an individual at risk of getting skin cancer.

- The very clear white skin, with very high number of freckle dots, which always gets burned but never gets tanned, is the most likely to have cancer

- The clear white sensitive skin, which easily gets burned and slightly gets tanned, has a high risk to get cancer

- The clear brown skin is sensitive; it moderately gets burned and generally gets tanned. It is also likely to get cancer

- The medium brown skin is less sensitive; it slightly gets burned but easily gets tanned. It is also likely to get cancer

- The dark and very dark brown skin which almost never gets burned rarely has cancer.

One shall not omit the factor of genetics. He who holds the skin cancer genes is more likely to have skin cancer than he who does not.



Time and duration of exposure to sun

The more the duration of exposure to sun is, the more the risk of skin cancer attack is. With time, the negative reverberations resulting from the exposure cumulate until the skin cells are destroyed and the skin is then ready to have cancer.

Moreover, patients on antibiotics should not expose their skin to sun because some of the medicines interact with the rays and double the skin cancer risk.


Prevention then prevention!

Dr. Motran gives tips that help protect the skin from the sun rays, like avoiding intensive exposure to the sun, using sun cream every two hours, and wearing sunglasses.

He noted that some products attenuate the effect of the sun rays but do not eliminate them. This is why we must be careful while choosing the product that must be rich in Para-amino benzoic acid, which helps secrete melanin, responsible from protecting the skin from UAV.

He also indicated that products with an spf15 protect the skin by 92% and that those with spf40 do by 97%.

تابعوا أخبار الوكالة الوطنية للاعلام عبر أثير إذاعة لبنان على الموجات 98.5 و98.1 و96.2 FM

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