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Good Housekeeping
Charlene J. Owen, Contributor
November 03, 2012

Continuous Sunlight Exposure May Trigger At Least Two Kinds of Skin Cancers

Getting a little too tan too often may have awful consequences in the future. By Charlene J. Owen

Thinking of spending some time under the sun? You may want to take it easy on sunbathing, as according to, researchers at the Moffitt Cancer Center from the University of South Florida and the International Agency for Research on Cancer in France have learned that specific sunlight patterns and timings of exposure may contribute to certain skin cancers. 

Senior study author Dana E. Rollison, Ph.D. says that basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are the most prevalent cancers caused by too much exposure to sunlight. Basal cell carcinoma is rarely fatal but may cause disfigurement. According to the US National Library of Medicine, squamous cell carcinoma, although curable, spreads faster and may affect the internal organs.

Working with 703 Florida residents--218 with basal cell carcinoma, 169 with squamous cell carcinoma and 316 without skin cancer--the researchers tried to identify the different effects of sunlight exposure to different skin conditions. The results showed that those who previously and repeatedly had blistering sunburns were more likely to develop carcinomas. Moreover, those who continually expose themselves to sunlight due to the kind of work they have are more prone to these kinds of cancers, especially those with little melanin.

Many people take sunlight and UV exposure for granted, but according to scientists, you may have already gotten 25 percent of your lifetime sunlight exposure before you even reached 18.  

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t enjoy basking in the sun--just be conscious about how much sun you're taking in. Moderation still is the key to staying safe and healthy.

(Photo by Karrie Nodalo via Flickr Creative Commons)

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