The popular hobby that could double your risk of skin cancer – study findings

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The skin cancer findings, put forward by the team at the University of South Australia, in Adelaide, were irrespective of other risk factors, such as age and smoking status.

Lead author Brad Stenner and his team analysed health information from an online survey, that began in 2018, of 336 golf players.

Only those who played golf at least once a month were involved in the analysis.

The players’ responses were compared to the health information of almost 16,000 Australians in the general public who had participated in the Australian Health Survey.

Brad Stenner hypothesised that older golfers may have been exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays before taking up golf, but are only experiencing the consequences now.

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There was also no data on how much UV exposure the golfers had been exposed to.

Nevertheless, UV exposure is a known risk factor for developing skin cancer, which is why the researchers believe golfers – who play outside – are more likely to develop the disease.

Skin cancer in the UK

The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust said around 15,400 people are diagnosed with melanoma in the UK each year.

“The incidence of malignant melanoma in Britain has risen faster than any other common cancer,” the Foundation states.

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“Over the last decade, the number of people diagnosed with melanoma in the UK has increased by almost half.”

As the fifth most common cancer in the UK, what can be done to protect yourself against the condition?

The Skin Cancer Foundation warned UV rays can penetrate clouds and glass, as well as bounce off snow, water and sand.

Thus, in order to protect yourself, it’s advisable to avoid tanning, to use a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher, and to seek shade between 10am to 4pm.

Another tip is to see a dermatologist every year for a professional skin examination.

The findings of the study were published in the journal BMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine.

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