The sun is the major source of ultraviolet radiation. Frequent exposure to sunlight automatically increases the risk of melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, significantly. This comes to suggest that if you work outdoors you are more likely to develop this condition. Find out more about your risk and the ways for lowering it.
MELANOMA AND SUN EXPOSURE
It has been estimated that outdoor workers are 50 per cent more likely to develop this type of skin cancer. A recent survey has shown that the risk is some 2.5 times higher in countries where this condition is fairly common such as Australia and New Zealand.
In general, the melanoma risk level varies from one individual to another depending on various factors. The amount of exposure to sunlight is one of them. Those workers who spend more hours outdoors every day are at greater risk.
The same applies to those who stay under the shade less frequently and to those who are exposed to UV radiation between 11 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon when the radiation is strongest.
The ultraviolet radiation works to damage the DNA of the skin cells. When the damage cannot be repaired naturally, a cancerous mole can appear. The important thing to note is that no one is safe.
People with darker complexion, for instance have lower risk, but this does not mean that they are absolutely safe from this dangerous type of skin cancer.
There are many things which you can do to protect yourself as best as possible even if you spend long hours outdoors. You need to cover as much of your skin as possible with clothing. Try not to leave the neck, shoulders and the hands exposed.
You should also wear a hat as well. It is best for the clothes to be in light colours and preferably in white, which reflects sum of the harmful UV rays.
Wearing sunscreen when you work outside is one of the best things which you can do to lower your risk of melanoma. Choose a good-quality product with SPF factor over 20 and preferably over 30. The product should offer good UVA and UVB radiation protection.
Apply sunscreen to all exposed areas of the skin every hour or so when you work outdoors. You should do this even on cloudy days as the amount of radiation which reaches the ground on such days is not lower.
These measures can help you lower your risk of melanoma, but they cannot eliminate it completely. That is why regular screenings are crucial for prevention.