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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 14:08 EDT

Sunscreen Can Prevent Melanoma

December 7, 2010

In a report released Monday, researchers said adults who use sunscreen on a regular basis are far less likely to develop deadly skin cancer — melanoma.

The researchers found that adults who used sunscreen in the 1990s were 50 percent less likely to develop melanoma 15 years later. The finding suggests that the benefits from sunscreen use last for years.

According to Reuters, Adele Green of the University of Queensland and colleagues followed on a study of more than 1,600 Australians starting in 1992. The participants were randomly assigned to either receive standard advice on the use of sunscreen, or to be given sunscreen to use with careful instructions and supervision until 1996.

The team found that only 22 out of the 1,600 people who received standard advice were diagnosed with melanoma. In contrast, eleven patients who were supervised developed the skin cancer.

The findings should settle a debate whether using sunscreen simply encourages people to stay out in the sun too long, the researchers said in their report.

Phyllis Gimotty and Karen Glanz of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine said the study was not perfect but should answer many doubts.

“To our knowledge, the trial’s findings are the first to provide strong evidence for a reduction in the incidence of invasive melanoma after regular application of broad spectrum sunscreen in adults,” they wrote in a commentary in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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