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It’s nothing new under the sun – UV exposure can lead to serious health issues. Most skin cancers are caused due to exposure to UV rays which are found in sunlight and tanning beds. The two most common types of skin cancer, basal cell and squamous cell cancers are most often found on parts of the body that are exposed to the sun. A less common but more serious type of skin cancer, melanoma, is also related to sun exposure.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in South Africa with about 20 000 reported cases every year and 700 deaths.
Spending too much time in the sun or on sunbeds means too much exposure to UV radiation which damages the DNA in our skin cells. When there is too much DNA damage, cells may start to grow uncontrollably leading to skin cancer.
Well, you may acknowledge that coming home from the beach looking like a sun-dried tomato, you may have gone too far, but the truth is you don’t have to get that obviously beaten by the sun to incur problems.
It’s important to know that we can not always see the damage we have done because it starts long before a sunburn or suntan is visible. The sun’s long term damage to our skin is irreversible and cumulative, so it is not always one instance of sunburn that can cause damage but repeated exposure even without sunburn.
Fortunately, skin cancer is preventable and you can significantly reduce your risk by protecting yourself from the sun’s UV rays using these five tips: