It’s summer and you might want to enjoy the sun a little bit more. However, sun’s UV rays may make you brown, but they may also give you cancer. Scientists from the University of Queensland conducted a research and found that targeting large clones of skin cells caused by ultraviolet irradiation could help reduce skin cancers.
It is not surprising and skin cancer in Australia is fairly common, given that this country enjoys a very sunny climate for the entire year. Basal and squamous cell carcinomas, known as keratinocyte cancers, are one of the main cancers in Australia. One third of Australians are going to get this cancer. And it’s a shame, because skin cancer can be avoided if appropriate skin protection is used. In simple terms, it is better to stay in the shade. And whenever you’re out, you should be wearing sunblock.
Scientists conducted a study using genetic engineering of skin epidermal stem cells. They tracked the growth, regression and cancerisation of individual clones that resulted from UV exposure and found that large clones regressed in size as soon as skin irradiation stopped. In other words, once the person was removed from direct sun exposure, the damaged stopped and the skin begun healing. This is very important, because, even though individual keratinocyte cancers are extremely treatable with surgery, subsequent tumours in the same sun damaged area are very common. Essentially, skin cancer becomes a chronic disease, which requires regular surgeries and check-ups for the rest of their lives. In Australia, about 4 % f people experience 10 or more skin cancers every three years.
Dr Edwige Roy, one of the authors of the study, said: “While it’s still unclear what processes drive the formation of skin cancer, our study helps clarify the influence of UV irradiation in its development by evaluating clone size dynamics in skin exposed to chronic ultraviolet irradiation”.
The best management strategy for such chronic skin cancer – sunblock and proper care. Some clones of skin cancer cells may be more likely to spread than others and scientists have to figure out how this mechanism works. Scientists say that chemoprevention treatment could play a significant role in addition to sun protection by reducing the size of skin cancer clones. In other words, we are nearing towards a more effective treatment for these chronic skin cancers.
Prevention is the best treatment. Wear a hat, proper sunglasses and sunscreen. These are inexpensive measures that can prevent a lot of pain and life-lasting health problems. As the climate is changing, summers are going to be longer, which means that people are going to spend more time on beaches. Just use sunscreen – it is easy to do.
Source: University of Queensland