Avoid Skin Cancer, this Summer

With the increase of temperatures this summer and the rising risks behind excessive sun exposure, experts are warning from the several negative effects of the sun’s ultraviolet radiations. Although sun exposure can be a great source of Vitamin D yet it can be a major cause of skin cancer.


Skin cancer is the most prevalent form of all cancers as the number of cases is on rise. Based on recent statistics conducted by the Saudi Society of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery more than 2,750,000 new cases of skin cancer are recorded annually in the world.


Dr. Hassan Galadari, Head of Scientific Committee of Dubai Derma Conference & Exhibition commented on this saying: “With the excessive sun exposure during summer, skin cancer is becoming a threat to our society. There is one thing that people need to understand about the sun in the UAE. The weather is too hot to stay outside for long periods. It is imperative that people try to avoid direct sun for long periods of time between 10am-4pm and always seek the shade in addition to having their sunglasses on and putting on at least a broad spectrum SPF30+ when out.”


Dr. Galadari continued on saying: “As a clinician, I have come up with skin cancer in the elderly population of the UAE, however nowadays I am seeing a slight trend to the younger population especially with the use of indoor tanning that is becoming more prevalent amongst youth.”


In this context, the German Cancer Society has warned recently people about the dangers of indoor tanning that increase the risk of skin cancer. As indoor tanning exposes users to two types of UV rays, UVA and UVB, which damage the skin and can lead to cancer. Indoor tanning is particularly dangerous for younger users; people who begin indoor tanning during adolescence or early adulthood have a higher risk of getting melanoma.


Dr. Galadari added: “Skin cancer is caused due to uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells that turn into tumors. Besides indoor tanning, there are many factors that might cause skin cancer such as repeated sun exposure, inherited genetic disorders, or other medical issues.”


On the other hand, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved recently a new drug Odomzo (sonidegib) to treat patients with locally advanced basal cell carcinoma, which is the most common skin cancer.


Commenting about this announcement, Dr. Galadari said: “This is a niche drug. The gold standard for treating this type of cancer, which is Basal Cell Carcinoma is surgery or and complete removal of the tumor. The drug will be quite useful for patients with cancer recurrence after surgery. Remember these tumors have a predisposition to recur and are difficult to treat using a surgical mean, since the majority of these patients are usually older, thus having the option of medical treatment is a great achievement.”


It is worth mentioning that basal cell carcinoma accounts for approximately 80 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers. Basal cell carcinoma starts in the top layer of the skin and usually develops in areas that have been regularly exposed to the sun and other forms of ultraviolet radiation.