May kicks off Skin Cancer Awareness Month. It’s the most common form of cancer in the US, 1 in 5 will develop it in their lifetime. The good news is that scientists can definitively now say that sunscreen does in fact work to prevent cancer. Up until recently, researchers had never specifically looked at its ability to do so.
Researchers at the Ohio State University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center tested mice with skin similar to humans. They applied SPF 30 to those mice and found that the sunscreen worked to prevent skin cancer. In fact, they found that without sunscreen, tumors developed faster and more often even without a sunburn; meaning you can still get skin cancer even if you’ve never had a sunburn.
As for why sunscreen had never been tested for its ability to prevent skin cancer, Dr. Christin Burd, PhD, said, it’s because they’re considered cosmetic. “When sunscreens are manufactured, they`re tested essentially for their ability to prevent burning. And so, that`s what they`re tested for and that`s currently the standard.” This new research could pave the way for new sunscreen, developed specifically to protect against skin cancer with the fewest chemicals possible.
The good news is that skin cancer is highly treatable, if it’s caught early. Doctors across Colorado are offering free skin cancer screenings. To find a location near you, click here: https://www.aad.org/public/spot-skin-cancer/programs/screeningsAlertMe