Sun Safety for Melanoma Survivors

Melanoma survivors largely limited sun exposure, but some still got sunburns

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(RxWiki News) Most melanoma survivors reported that they limited their sun exposure, but some said they got suntans and even sunburns, according to a new study.

Although melanoma survivors were more likely than those who hadn't been diagnosed with melanoma to make efforts to limit their sun exposure, some still weren't practicing sun-safe behavior, this study found.

Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, has become increasingly common in recent years. Too much sun exposure can raise melanoma risk. 

"At a time when rates of many cancer types are declining, the rising incidence of melanoma is worrisome," said study author Dr. Rachel Isaksson Vogel, of the University of Minnesota, in a press release. "People who have survived melanoma are at high risk of another diagnosis, so reducing exposure to the sun is really crucial."

The researchers behind this study looked at 724 melanoma survivors and 660 people who did not have melanoma. Around 44 percent of those who didn't have melanoma said they would spend more than an hour outside on summer weekdays. For survivors, that figure was 34.3 percent.

Similarly, fewer survivors said they had gotten a sunburn or used a tanning bed in the last year. Survivors were also more likely to use sunscreen.

Although survivors of melanoma appeared to practice more sun-safe behaviors overall, the study authors said it's important that everyone takes precautions to limit sun exposure — especially for survivors of skin cancer.

Talk to your doctor about how to stay safe in the sun.

This study was published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Grants from the Masonic Cancer Center of the University of Minnesota's Internal Grants Program and the National Cancer Institute funded this research. The authors disclosed no potential conflicts of interest.