Tan = melanoma?

In this article we will answer the question of how long it takes to sunbathe in the sun to develop melanoma.
Melanoma is a malignant tumor that most often develops under the influence of sunlight from melanocytes — cells that produce dark skin pigment.

The UV radiation of the solar spectrum is divided into three ranges depending on the wavelength. The shortest UVC rays practically do not reach the Earth's surface due to the ozone layer. UVB and UVA rays that penetrate the atmosphere and affect the skin. UVB, as a shorter-wave radiation, has more energy and burns the skin more strongly, causing superficial burns. UVA does not burn so much, but penetrates deeper into the cellular layers of the skin, leading to noticeable and dangerous consequences — photoaging, skin cancer and melanoma (in addition to melanoma, two types of carcinomas are also attributed to skin cancer, and melanoma itself is often classified as a separate type of malignant skin tumors).

Since melanoma most often develops on the skin, unlike other oncological diseases, it is quite easy to detect it yourself.

Only those who sunbathe a lot in the solarium and often rest in southern countries are at risk?

We all take risks to some extent, because we live under the sun. But not everyone takes the same risk.

Depending on the color of the skin, doctors distinguish six phototypes of skin in humans. Representatives of the first and second phototypes — fair-haired and red—haired, with fair skin and freckles, those whose skin does not form a long-awaited tan under the influence of the sun, but quickly reacts with sunburn - should be wary of the sun. The same applies to people with a large number of moles (50 or more) or owners of congenital large nevi (medical term for moles and birthmarks) with uneven edges, asymmetry and uneven coloring.

90% of the cases are people of these categories. The remaining 10% are people with hereditary melanoma. Those who have close blood relatives have ever had melanoma.

So how much time do you need to spend in the sun to form a melanoma?

The answer is simple: it is not the time of stay that matters, but the intensity. Any sunburn received outdoors or in a solarium can eventually lead to the formation of melanoma. And how long it will take you to get a burn is a purely individual thing. Therefore, the main prevention is connected with the protection of the skin from sunburn. Here are some statistics: one burn in adolescence is enough to increase the chances of getting melanoma after 50 years to 75%. Solar radiation is a carcinogen for the skin, and carcinogens are known to accumulate over time and are not excreted in any way.

Therefore, it is necessary to completely exclude sunburn, especially if you are at risk (calculate your risk of developing melanoma): wear long clothes, hats, sunglasses, and when going out into the open air, be sure to use sunscreens, including in winter.
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List of literature

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Survival after cutaneous melanoma in kidney transplant recipients: a population–based matched cohort study. Am J Transplant. 2014 Jun;14(6):1368–75. doi: 10.1111/ajt.12716. Epub 2014 Apr 14.


8) Risk of melanoma in people with HIV/AIDS in the pre– and post–HAART eras: a systematic review and meta–analysis of cohort studies. Olsen CM, Knight LL, Green AC. PLoS One. 2014 Apr 16;9(4):e95096. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0095096. eCollection 2014. Review.


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11) Pappo AS, Armstrong GT, Liu W, et al. Melanoma as a subsequent neoplasm in adult survivors of childhood cancer: A report from the childhood cancer survivor study. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2012


12) Indoor tanning and risk of melanoma: a case–control study in a highly exposed population.

Lazovich D1, Vogel RI, Berwick M, Weinstock MA, Anderson KE, Warshaw EM. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2010 Jun;19(6):1557–68. doi: 10.1158/1055–9965.EPI–09–1249. Epub 2010 May 26.