Faced with global warming, doctors warn of the increased risk of skin cancer

Published on August 18, 2022 at 10:15 a.m.

Faced with global warming, doctors warn of the increased risk of skin cancer

Faced with global warming, doctors warn of the increased risk of skin cancer – ©Istock / Mystockimages

In 2022, France experienced temperature records of around 40°C in several regions. The problem ? With the sun, it is tempting to expose yourself to get a tan. A worrying combo for doctors, especially for the risk of skin cancer.

The heat waves are accompanied by high temperatures, blue skies and a beating sun. Exactly, the problem is there: exposing yourself to the sun means exposing yourself to UV rays, which are dangerous for the health of the skin. But with global warming, heat episodes are likely to repeat themselves more and more often over the years and the population could well spend more and more time in the sun. A news that worries specialists. As a reminder, in France, nearly 80,000 new cases of skin cancer are discovered every year. Among these different cases, 80% of them would be linked to excessive exposure to the sun. The most aggressive form is melanoma: a malignant tumor of the pigmentary system of the skin. It occurs in 80% of cases on healthy skin in the form of a pigmented spot. In five years, this disease has seen its number of cases multiplied between 1990 and 2018 and has reached 15,500 new cases per year in France according to Public Health France.

Read also >> One in five people will get skin cancer in their lifetime, experts warn

With rising temperatures, the risk of skin cancer could be higher and higher

Global warming could have harmful consequences on our health. In effect, the media “The Guardian” highlights the risk of increased skin cancer and in particular melanoma. In question ? The increasingly hot summers affecting Europe. With this change in temperature, the desire to go outside is becoming stronger and stronger, as explained by Professor Dann Mitchell, climatology expert at the University of Bristol: “This change in temperature also modifies behaviors, and Britons tend to go out more when temperatures are high. This leads to greater exposure to sunlight throughout the year, and above all to a greater large exposure to UV part of this sunlight, which is a known risk factor for skin cancer.”
But sun and UV exposure are not without risks, and Julia Newton-Bishop, clinician scientist who leads the Melanoma Research Group at the University of Leeds, explains that “melanoma is primarily caused by sunburn, and this weather is so extreme that I fear that sunburn will increase and, later, the incidence of melanoma as well”.

Caution is the watchword to protect your skin from the sun

It is therefore essential to remain cautious. This is why the experts remind you that you should not expose yourself for too long in order to avoid sunburn and to avoid the hours when the sun is strong between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. in particular. Regular application of sunscreen is also recommended. Moreover, at the beginning of July, the National Cancer Institute had launched its campaign: “the shade is the coolest place! in order to warn about the risks ofsun exposure.
Finally, Sarah Danson, professor of medical oncology at the University of Sheffield, reminds our colleagues at “The Guardian” that “anyone worried about a new mole or a change in mole should consult your GP immediately, as early diagnosis is very important and treatments are available”.

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