Vigilant Sun Protection and Still Got Melanoma

Last Modified: May 27, 2011

Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

I have been very vigilant about sun protection for over 20 years. Why did I develop skin cancer now after I have stopped tanning so long ago?

Answer

Rachel Woods, BSN, RN, Nurse in Moh's micrographic surgery at Penn Medicine, responds:

That is a great question that many people ask. Sun damage incurred in your younger years can definitely be the culprit for skin cancers later on in life, but there are many factors. As we age our immune systems aren't as strong. In our skin, this translates to the inability to repair itself, which leads to cancers. Don't give up though, the precautions you take now still play a role in your health- and in preventing future melanomas!

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series: Sun Safety and Skin Cancer Prevention Webchat. View the entire transcript on Sun Safety.

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