Athletes are at risk for skin cancer.

At a recent conference of the Physiological Society’s Extreme Environmental Psychology a researcher said athletes ranging from hikers, to tenn is to runnersexceed the recommended ultraviolet exposure limit by up to eight-fold during the summer and fall seasons. Even though exercise is assocoated with a reduced risk of cancer, skin cancer is the exception. For malignant skin cancers, those in the 90th percentile of exercise have an increased risk of cancer than those in the 10th percentile. And outdoor activities have consistently demonstrated an elevated risk for skin cancer in research studies.

Ultraviolet radiation is categorized byy wavelengths as UV- (320-400 nm) that is about 95% of radiation reaching the earth; UV-B (290-320 nm) whichis about 5% of the radiation reaching earth; and UV-C (200-290 nm). In the skin, the skins blood circulation can be reached by UV-A, whereas most of the UV-B is absorbed by the outer layer of the skin due to its short wavelength.

Responses to untraviolet rays are also affected by skin pigmentation. The bodys ability to create two important substances¬† are affected by ultraviolet radiation. These are vitamin D and folate whih are especially important in pregnancy and early childhood development and UV radiation helps vitamin D synthesis and causes folate to break away. Some believe early human populations living in Africa, evolved skin pigmentation to protect themselves from folate degradation and as later populations moved away from the equator skin depigmentation allowed for higher levels of vitamin D synthesis. The researcher concluded with “Sun protection in athletes is especially important as multiple studies demonstrate an elevated risk of skin cancer for those who regularly participate in outdoor sports or exercise. Suprisingly, fewer than 25% of surveyed athletes reported regular use of sunscreen,m so there is clearly more awarenewss-raising that needs to be done.”

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