If you survived melanoma — the deadliest type of skin cancer — would you still go out in the sun without protection? A new study has found that some people do just that.
Researchers at Bispebjerg Hospital in Copenhagen tracked 20 melanoma patients and 20 melanoma-free people with similar ages and skin types over three years, and found that the melanoma patients reduce their UV exposure the summer after being diagnosed with the disease. But by three years later, they’re spending as much time in the sun without sunscreen as people who have never had skin cancer. And 60 percent of melanoma patients reported getting sunburned at least once during the three-year study period (versus 50 percent of their peers without the disease).
People who have already had melanoma have a higher chance of getting it again, which makes the findings worrisome. “It may be more difficult than we realize for people who really enjoy the sun to stay out of it,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Luise Idorn. If the threat of a deadly disease isn’t enough to make people wear sunscreen, maybe the fact that it can help SPF-wearers show 24 percent fewer signs of aging will.