Getting sunburnt just ONCE as a kid can give you skin cancer as an adult, doctor claims

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GETTING sunburnt once as a kid can increase the risk of melanoma later in life by 50 per cent, one doctor has claimed.

Dr Monty Lyman, who researches dermatology, cited a study said that also suggested white women “who get five or more severe sunburns in their teens have double the risk of developing melanoma”.

One severe sunburn in childhood reportedly increases the risk of melanoma later on in life by 50 per cent
One severe sunburn in childhood reportedly increases the risk of melanoma later on in life by 50 per cent
Getty Images – Getty

Dr Lyman writes in the Mail On Sunday: “Current research suggests that while many people who are severely sunburned as children never develop skin cancer, one blistering sunburn in childhood increases the risk of melanoma later on in life by 50 per cent.

“In the Western world particularly, the explosion in skin cancer rates over the past few decades – partly caused by cheap holidays to countries with hot climates such as Spain and Greece – is now a major public health crisis.”

He adds the price of treating skin cancer alone is set to cost the NHS £500million by 2025.

Skin damage – even from mild tans – can accumulate over the years, according to the researcher.

Dr Lyman says everyone should be wearing sunscreen everyday, even on cloudy days.

The ultraviolet rays – UVA and UVB – both damage our skin, but in two different ways.

UVB is one of our most important sources of Vitamin D, but it also delivers our painful sunburns.


UVA contributes to tanning and was originally thought not to cause cancer, but new evidence shows it can initiate and accelerate skin development.

It also speeds up the the ageing process through skin deterioration and wrinkling by being able to travel further in to our skin than UVB rays.

Dy Lyman recommends Brits wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB and has an SPF of at leas 15.

Symptoms of skin cancer

In the UK, around 13,300 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year.

It’s a disease which involves the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells, and it can occur when damage is caused to the skin cells.

This damage can triggers mutations, or genetic defects, that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumours.

Macmillan’s ABCDE list helps you know what to look for:

A – Asymmetrical moles – irregular in shape
B – Border of a mole – blurred or has jagged edges
C – Colour of a mole – if a mole has more than one colour
D – Diameter (width) – irregular moles are usually larger than 7mm
E – Evolving – melanoma moles often change (evolve)

Sunburn doesn’t cause skin cancer but it increases your chances of developing the disease.

etting sunburnt just five times can increase your chance of contracting skin cancer by 80 per cent.

Cancer Research UK says: “Too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or sunbeds is the main cause of skin cancer.

“In the UK almost 9 in 10 cases of melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, could be prevented through enjoying the sun safely and avoiding using sunbeds.”

Dr Monty Lyman recommends Brits wear sunscreen almost every day
Dr Monty Lyman recommends Brits wear sunscreen almost every day
Getty – Contributor

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