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Melanoma and skin cancers: guidelines for protecting yourself in summer

In 2023 approximately 12,700 new diagnoses of melanoma: if it is true that this type of tumor represents only 5% of skin cancersit should not be forgotten that it is the typology more aggressiveespecially common among young adults under 30 years old.

For this reason OncoPrecisionthe reference portal for the promotion and dissemination of precision oncology, has chosen to dedicate an in-depth study to cutaneous melanoma, sharing some useful guidelines to prevent and treat it. Vanity Fair interviewed for it Ilaria Ricozzisurgeon specialized in dermatology at OncoPrecision.

When and how much should you expose yourself to the sun?
«It is advisable to avoid direct exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, especially in the summer months and in the evenings central hours of the day, between 11am and 3pm, which is when UV rays normally reach the earth’s surface with their maximum power. It is therefore advisable to expose yourself preferably during the hours of the day early morning or the late afternoon/evening. Sun exposure has the function of activate Vitamin D which has numerous beneficial effects on our health: in addition to fortifying our teeth and bones, in fact, it lowers blood pressure, promoting our cardiovascular system and protecting us from various types of cancer. Vitamin D is produced very rapidly by skin exposed to the sun, in fact 15-20 minutes a day is enough in the open air during the central hours of the day with face and limbs not protected by sunscreen to produce the sufficient daily quantity. Healthy people who normally carry out outdoor activity for about 20 minutes have sufficient natural production of Vitamin D and do not incur specific deficiencies. It is therefore not necessary to seek excessive sun exposure for this purpose.”

How to behave based on phototypes?
«Exposing our skin for long periods, or even for short but intense periods, to UV rays causes damage to the DNA of cells which can lead to skin cancer. Our skin has one
different coloration based on the quantity of pigment produced (melanin) which protects us from
UV rays. People with lighter skin therefore have greater sensitivity and go
more protected from the sun. There are 6 different phototypes from the most sensitive to the least sensitive.”

Melanoma, how to prevent skin cancer from childhood to adulthood
On average, it causes the death of 5 men and 6 women every 100,000. Without early diagnosis and correct prevention, skin cancer can become a dangerous killer. Here are the ten key points to protect yourself, starting from when you are little

What protection to use?
«The recommended sunscreen is at least 15 sun protection factor (SPF) for daily activities carried out in the city e 30 or 50based on phototype, for activities carried out in the sun. They should be applied generously before the activity and the application repeated approximately every two hours».

Differences between adults and children?
«The younger the skin, the more serious the damage caused by UV rays and the greater the damage that accumulates on cellular DNA. Children are therefore the most sensitive to sun exposure and the most vulnerable. Their skin is more delicate because the stem cells are more superficial and therefore more affected by radiation. AND any direct exposure in children during the first 2 years of life is not recommended. Subsequently, it is the responsibility of us adults to protect children and adolescents from excessive sun exposure, using only protection with maximum SPF.”

And the differences between males and females?
«According to a recent American study, melanoma appears to be affect men more than women. The probability that a man will develop melanoma during his lifetime is 1.72% compared to a percentage of approximately 1.22% in females. The reason for this different incidence is twofold: one of a constitutional nature linked to genetic, hormonal and biological factorsthe other linked to environmental aspects, in particular of type behavioral. Female hormones appear to have a protective activity, unlike male hormones, against the damage of UV radiation. The prognosis in women then seems to be more favorable for the same severity of disease. Furthermore, women pay more attention to prevention than men in terms of their propensity to carry out specialist visits and to protect their skin more from exposure to UV radiation. In women, melanoma prefers the lower limbs, while in men it is more frequent on the trunk.”

Source: Vanity Fair

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