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Sun kills 60,000 worldwide per year

3rd August 2006

03082006_Sun1.jpgThe first report to outline the global effects of sun exposure has found that the bulk of deaths from skin cancers are caused by excess exposure to the sun's harmful rays, ultraviolet radiation (UVR).

The report, by the World Health Organisation, states that as many as 60,000 people a year die from overexposure to UVR which also causes sunburn, triggers cold sores and ages the skin.  Of the 60,000 deaths, 48,000 are caused by malignant melanomas and 12,000 by other skin cancers whereas more than 1.5 million "disability-adjusted life years" or DALYS - a measure of the loss of full functioning due to disease and death - are lost every year due to sun exposure, says the report.

Small amounts of sun exposure are beneficial to health, and play an essential role in the production of vitamin D by the skin, but WHO and the World Tourism Organization of the United Nations are urging people to be extra-vigilant when out in the sun to avoid overexposure.  

Simple measures, such as covering up when in the sun, could save lives. Other ways to avoid too much sun include limiting time spent in the midday sun, using sunscreens of factor 15+ and avoiding sunlamps and tanning parlours.


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Article Information

Title: Sun kills 60,000 worldwide per year
Author: Chris May
Article Id: 591
Date Added: 3rd Aug 2006


BBC News
World Health Organisation

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