Sunscreen on its own can't stop malignant melanoma, research shows

19 June 2014

The deadliest form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma, can't be prevented with sunscreen alone, recent research shows.

Researchers looked at how UV light affected mice who already had an increased risk of getting the cancer, in research published in Nature, a journal.

They showed that such light brings about faults in a gene (p53) which usually plays a part in protecting from the impact of UV-light caused DNA damage.

It was also found that sunscreen can bring down the amount of UV-caused DNA damage a lot - but does not protect against it totally and UV was still able to target the p53 gene and bring on melanoma, at a smaller rate.  

"This research adds important evidence showing that sunscreen has a role, but that you shouldn’t just rely on this to protect your skin. It’s essential to get into good sun safety habits, whether at home or abroad, and take care not to burn," commented Cancer Research UK head of health information Dr Julie Sharp.

In strong sun, she advised people to wear a t shirt, spend time in shade and wear SPF15 or higher sunscreen with good protection from UVA.

The public have been told through health campaigns to use clothing and shade for protection and use sunscreen on parts that can't be covered up.

The new research was the work of  scientists at Cancer Research UK’s Manchester Institute and Institute of Cancer Research in London.

Posted by Edward Bartel

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