Melanoma Awareness, Skin Cancer

Exercise And Melanoma Risk

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Posted 03/10/13

Exercise is certainly beneficial for your overall health, for the heart and even for the brain as it reduces stress levels. It has been found to aid patients diagnosed with melanoma to go through the treatment and achieve more effective results. Sadly, however, some exercise enthusiast may turn out to be at a higher risk of this dangerous condition Learn more about the link between this type of skin cancer and outdoor sports.


There has been considerable research on the effects of outdoor exercise on the human body. People who are exposed to the ultraviolet radiation coming from the sun for long hours are at greater risk of melanoma.

The risk is the highest in long distance runners and cyclists as they are frequently exposed to UV radiation during training and races. Other sports which may have you stay outside for long hours include hiking, climbing, skiing, water sports like surfing, beach volley, tennis and recreational basketball and football.

Researchers have found that there are factors contributing to the higher risk of melanoma in outdoor athletes, both professional and amateur ones. Sweat makes the skin more sensitive to the UV radiation and this works to increase the risk.

In addition, there is some evidence that the immune system can be suppressed due to intensive exercise, which is most common in professional athletes. This makes the body more vulnerable to all kinds of disease including skin cancer.


Try to exercise outside during the early morning hours. The amounts of ultraviolet radiation are much lower during this time of the day. The other option is to exercise in the evening, preferably after five or six.

It may not be appropriate for your body to be fully covered when you exercise outdoors, but this does not mean that you should not wear clothing which can offer better protection. For instance, put on a t-shirt instead a top which does not cover the shoulders. You can also wear trousers or thighs that are longer than shorts.

The application of sunscreen is one of the main measures for melanoma protection which you can take. It is important for you to buy a product which offers both UVB and UVA protection. You should apply sufficient amounts of the sunscreen on all areas of the body exposed to the sun on a regular basis during your exercise session outdoors.

As an athlete enjoying outdoor sports, you should consider getting more frequent melanoma screenings.