Surfers, swimmers and stand-up paddle boarders are six times more likely to develop melanoma than the general population, according to new research from Southern Cross University.
One hundred and eighty-two surfers and beachgoers from Queensland’s Gold Coast and the New South Wales north coast volunteered for skin checks as part of the study.
More than 40 per cent were identified as having pre-malignant or malignant skin cancers.
Ocean goers have a greater risk of skin cancer because they can absorb dangerous levels of UV exposure from the sun, if they’re not adequately protected.
It’s the first- time researchers have been able to quantify how much greater the risk of developing skin cancer is for regular ocean users.
Project leader Mike Climstein, Associate Professor in clinical exercise physiology at the university, said the research team planned a second phase of the study.
He said skin checks would be offered to a larger group, and the analysis will be bolstered by total-body photography to monitor participants with numerous moles.
Adjunct Associate Professor Michael Stapelberg is performing the skin checks.
“Hopefully our study will make ocean users more aware and take appropriate precautions, due to their increased risk of skin cancer,” he said.
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