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Sunscreen use in childhood 'can prevent melanoma in later life'

Sunscreen use in childhood \'can prevent melanoma in later life\'
The risk of malignant melanoma in adulthood can be reduced 'dramatically' by the consistent use of sunscreen in infancy and childhood, according to a new study.

Carried out by the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, the research showed that applying lotion containing sunscreen to infant opossums resulted in a tenfold reduction in pre-melanotic lesions.

This difference occurred even when doses of ultraviolet (UV) light were applied that were low enough to cause no sunburn or reddening of the skin in opossums that did not receive sunscreen.

Lesions did not appear until the animals had become adolescents, with prior experiments having established that such lesions do not progress to melanomas until the animals are well into adulthood, as is typically the case in humans.

Senior author Dr John VandeBerg said the reason for this may be "because skin cells during growth are dividing much more rapidly than in adulthood, and it is during cell division that the cells are most susceptible to UV-induced damage".

However, a study earlier this month from the University of Manchester revealed that sunscreen alone cannot be relied upon to completely prevent malignant melanoma, underlining the importance of other preventative measures.ADNFCR-8000103-ID-801729817-ADNFCR

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