Skin cancer myths debunked

Myths and misunderstandings can be commonplace in our information-filled world, especially when it comes to a disease like skin cancer.

Below are some common myths which have been debunked.


Myth: The sun is only dangerous in summer or on a hot day.

Fact: Just because you can’t see your shadow doesn’t mean you’re safe from the sun’s damaging rays. Believe it or not, up to 80 per cent of the sun’s UV rays can penetrate through clouds and fog.


Myth: People with darker skins are not at risk for getting skin cancer.

Fact: People with darker skin are less likely to develop skin cancer than Caucasians, but they have a higher risk of dying from it. A very dangerous and fast-spreading skin cancer known as acral lentiginous melanoma is more common among darker-skinned people and may appear as a suspicious growth in the mucous membranes, under the nails, or on the palms or soles of the feet.


Myth: Sunscreen will protect me completely from the harmful effects of the sun’s rays.

Fact: A sunscreen’s SPF indicates that it protects against UVB rays, but you need protection from both UVB and UVA. For effective protection, apply a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen.


Myth: Windows protect us from the sun’s UV rays.

Fact: While glass does block most UVB rays, UVA radiation can get through. Which means that even indoors or in a car with the windows up, you can tan or burn.


Myth: Sunbeds are a safer alternative to tanning in the sun.

Fact: When compared to people who have never tanned indoors, indoor tanners have a higher risk of all forms of skin cancer. A controlled dose of tanning lamp radiation is a high dose. Frequent tanners using new high-pressure sunlamps may receive as much as 12 times the annual UVA dose they receive from sun exposure.

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