Sun still main cause of skin cancer

New report finds that, unlike many other cancers, your diet and exercise patterns do not appear to be strongly associated with your risk of skin cancer

20 June 2019

Over 13 million adults, from 55 studies around the world, were analysed in this report on skin cancer. The report found no strong evidence to indicate that diet and exercise patterns are strongly associated with skin cancer, therefore the sun remains the primary cause of skin cancer.

Susannah Brown, Acting Head of Research Interpretation, said: “We see this report as good news when it comes to diet, exercise and skin cancer.

“The evidence that overexposure to the sun causes skin cancer has been consistent for decades. However, many people still don’t protect themselves from the sun, putting themselves at increased risk of skin cancer. We want our report to remind people that there are simple but important steps they can take to prevent developing skin cancer.”

Melanoma, which is just one type of skin cancer, is the 19th most common cancer worldwide. It is therefore essential that we take measures to protect ourselves from the sun, both at home and abroad. Although the report found no association between lifestyle factors and skin cancer, 40 per cent of cancer cases are preventable by not smoking and making changes to diet, weight and physical activity; obesity alone is a cause of at least 12 types of cancer. With one in two of us developing cancer in our lifetime, it is still vital to reduce your cancer risk by following WCRF’s Cancer Prevention Recommendations.

Read the full report, Diet, nutrition, physical activity and skin cancer.