Medical Q&As

Sunburn

It is a more or less a certainty that if a person got sunburned when they were young (or since) that they will get skin cancer at some stage in their life (especially melanoma)?

It would be wrong to suggest that skin cancer is an inevitable consequence of sunburn. Not all people who get sunburn go on to develop skin cancer. However you are right to emphasise the importance of protecting the skin. Many people are terrified of melanomas because they are very malignant however there are other less serious forms of skin cancer such as basal cell carcinoma, which are far more common and totally curable if diagnosed early. Celtic people are particularly at risk of developing skin cancer hence the need for being careful to avoid sunburn. By all means enjoy the sun; it is good for you but protect your skin so that you donít burn. Apart from using sun block I would like to see more people wearing hats when out in the sun. Men are sometimes inclined to forget about burning their scalps especially if their hair is thinning.