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Home skin basics Melanoma - What causes It?

Melanoma - What causes It?

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Sun - Summer Sun and Winter Sun

Cancer Research UK shows that the majority of skin cancers are caused by too much sun exposure, or in other words, too much exposure to Ultraviolet (UV) radiation. There are three types of UV rays - UVA, UVB and UVC. UVA is responsible for skin ageing and can cause skin cancer. UVB causes redness and sunburn and can also be a risk factor for skin cancer. UVC gets filtered out by the ozone layer, so does not reach us.

New figures for 2005 show that 70% of people questioned in a special survey about UV Index did not understand the importance of the UV Index. UV Index is a way of describing the maximum strength of the UV radiation for a particular day from the sun. It is a more accurate indication of the potential for sunburn than the temperatures forecast each day. Over exposure to ultra violet rays measured by the UV Index can cause skin cancer. The Index ranges from 1 (lowest) and 20 (highest). The highest in the UK usually is 10. People with fair skin need to protect themselves from burning between 11am and 3pm on days with a UV Index rating of 2-5, whereas people with darker skin are advised to cover up when the UV Index rating is higher.

Outdoor Sports

Sports such as golf, tennis, watersports and rambling can add an increase risk to skin cancer, if whilst playing the sport people are not adequately covered up. Every Winter many people go skiing and snowboarding and with the change in altitude, there is also an increase in exposure to UV radiation.


Sunbeds provide artificial UV radiation and even if used occasionally throughout the year, may increase the risk of developing malignant melanoma. Also, a sunbed tan does not protect your skin from the UV radiation of natural sunlight.

Atypical Mole Syndrome

People who have lots of unusual moles, which is known as Atypical Mole Syndrome or Dysplastic Naevus Syndrome, have a higher risk of developing Melanoma.



skin cancer

the second most common in young people


the deadliest form of skin cancer

Catch it early - it can be stopped