Is Climate Change Increasing The Incidence Of Skin Cancer?

Girl anoints her face protective cream on the beach

Climate change is one of those topics that will trigger discussion among many groups of people. However, it simply makes no difference if you believe that human beings are the driving force behind the change in long term weather patterns or if this is simply a natural cyclic occurrence. The fact of the matter is that it is happening.

And the effects are going to be devastating. Increasing sea levels and drought across formerly fertile parts of the world – and the sun will be beating down with more intensity than it ever has.

So on a purely individual level what does this mean for us as human beings? For one thing we had better start caring for our skin a lot more. If anything research has shown that increased exposure to the sun’s rays are going to lead higher levels of skin cancer.

Both UVA and UVB wavelengths given out by the sun have been conclusively proven to up the chances of anyone falling prey to skin cancer.

For those who live near the coast and in temperate climates the threat is even more serious. It is partly a lifestyle issue. those who take most of their leisure time in the open air and at the seaside are most exposed to UV radiation. It is these UV rays that cause skin cancer.

It’s alarming to note that Australia has the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world – and a panel in that country tasked with assessing the risks of climate change on health has found that the incidence of skin cancer will skyrocket when climate change begins to affect the weather and sunlight patterns in that country.

The reduction in the protective ozone layer that surrounds the Earth is only one of the results of ongoing climate change. And if the Australian study is anything to go by this will increase the incidence of skin cancer in that country by around 30% – and this is in a country where alarmingly 2 out of three people will be diagnosed with some sort of skin melanoma within their lifetime.

The problem is by no means limited to Australia. The World Health Organisation has stated that global rates of melanoma have increased by 60% between the period of 1982 and 2010.

It is becoming increasingly clear that people who wish to spend their leisure time out of doors will have to adapt their behaviour in order to keep up with increasingly rapid onset of changes caused by a climate that seems to be changing at a rate that has not been seen for thousands of years.

The current approach of using sunscreen is a good start – but several scientists have said that this by now traditional approach is no longer sufficient to protect people form the effects of higher UV rays caused y climate change.

It is now a fact of life that those people who wish to avoid melanoma and other types of skin cancer will have to take far more care as to how they expose themselves to the suns rays.