Skin cancer capital of the World skin, types & UV exposure
Skin cancer capital of the World: The Sunshine State. It’s known for its amazing beaches, warm, sunny weather, and the Great Barrier Reef. But did you know that Queensland also has the highest rate of melanoma anywhere in the world? But what is it about Queensland that’s so special? I mean, there are lots of other places with lots of sunshine, I decided to find out of the common types of skin cancer, melanoma is by far the deadliest.
When I looked at the rate of new melanoma diagnoses, I was shocked to find that Queensland is well and truly at the top of the league table.
The rate of melanoma is triple that of North America. But why?
What we know that sunburns are responsible for 95% of melanomas, and we know that sunburns are caused by excessive UV or ultraviolet light. Let’s take a quick look at UV. UV light is just another part of the electromagnetic spectrum. UV light has slightly higher energy than visible light. Visible light is reflected in your skin. But the higher energy level of UV means that it can penetrate into the skin layers. UV is a natural part of our environment, so the skin can handle a certain amount of UV. In fact, a moderate amount of UV can be beneficial. However, if skin cells are exposed to excessive UV, they can be DNA damage, which can lead to skin cancer down the track.
Now there are a couple of important things that influence the risk of skin cancer. The first is how resilient your skin is to UV light. And the second is the amount of UV exposure that you’ve had in your lifetime. resilience of the skin is related to your skin type, which is based on your genetics. It’s pretty straightforward.
People with fair skin tend to be very UV sensitive
People with darker skin tend to be very UV resilient. Us study compared the rate of melanoma diagnosis in different ethnic groups. they categorize people into whites, Hispanics, American Indians, Asians, and African Americans. As you can see, the rate is much higher in those people classified as white. In fact, there is a scale that doctors use to estimate how sensitive someone’s skin is to UV light. Type six is the other extreme that describes people with very dark skin who are most resilient to UV damage.
Okay, so now we’ve discussed skin types. Let’s talk about differences in UV exposure. This is a map that shows the average UV index in different parts of the world. Red shows high average UV, yellow is medium, and green is low. What you’ll notice is that countries around the equator have the highest average UV radiation levels. This includes places like Australia, Malaysia, Central Africa, and parts of South America.
Should have really high rates of melanoma right?
Well, it’s not that simple. It goes back to the majority skin type of people living in those areas. Let’s take a look at a few examples. In Malaysia, the UV index averages between 12 and 14. However, the average skin type tends to be Fitzpatrick three to five. Let’s take a look at Brazil. Here the skin type for most people is also three to five. Next, Kenya, where the skin type for most people is five to six. All these countries have very high UV exposure. But most of the people who live there also have UV resilient skin types.
Something very interesting happens when you look at Australia and New Zealand. The most common skin type ranges from top one to three. This means that a large number of people living in these areas are highly sensitive to UV damage.
Let’s put this all together. Queensland is close to the equator. So there are high UV radiation levels. Add to this the fact that most people living in Australia and New Zealand tend to have fear skin. Also, no other country that closes to the equator has such a large proportion of people with fear skin. It’s no wonder that Queensland has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. But there’s something else that I haven’t mentioned yet. And that is that Australians and New Zealanders love the outdoors, the Skin cancer capital of the World.
tanning has been part of our culture since the 1950s. This is in contrast to Southeast Asian countries where people tend to avoid the sun because people want a fake complexion.
What does this mean for all of us?
Well, the first thing is that skin cancer is not as simple as having fear of skin. It also depends on where in the world you live in. But since you can’t change where you live that easily. Some protection becomes your best friend, especially if you have fair skin. But what is good sun protection?
Is your sunscreen protecting you from all the different types of UV?
And what about vitamin D? Isn’t that good for you? If you’re interested in knowing the answers to these questions, let me know in the comments below and I’ll see you at the next one.
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