What is the relationship between solar exposure and skin cancer?
- Over 1 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed worldwide each year.
- Epidemiological evidence suggests >90% of malignant melanoma is attributable to solar radiation.
- The most frequent 1° sites are areas exposed intermittently, but intensely, e.g. skin of the back.
- Australians (mostly white and intensely exposed to UV radiation) have the highest incidence of melanoma in the world.
- Sun exposure in childhood is a particular risk factor.
- Exposure to solar radiation is also likely to account for the great majority of non-melanoma skin cancer.
- Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) are associated with cumulative sun exposure, typically in maximally sun-exposed areas, e.g. face and ears.