Higher summer temperatures will increase the rate of melanomas and other deadly cancers, experts warn
Hotter summer temperatures could lead to an uptick in melanomas and other deadly cancers as inhabitants of northern countries spend more time in the sun, a handful of doctors and academics have warned, voicing their concerns in The Guardian on Sunday. They argue that climate change will translate to an increase in skin cancer deaths.
Climate science professor Dann Mitchell of the University of Bristol argued that climate change would naturally lead to more sun exposure for people living in the UK and other northern regions, since people tend to go outside more when temperatures are warm. “This leads to more exposure to sunlight throughout the year, and crucially more exposure to the UV part of that sunlight, which is a known risk factor for skin cancer,” he said.
While admitting that any relationship between heat and cancer is necessarily indirect – “we cannot say a specific heatwave caused a specific cancer” – the academic nevertheless argued that one could “link the increased risk of cancer to the integration of many warmer days, with these warmer days made more likely due to human-induced climate change.” More research was needed, he noted.
Medical oncology professor Sarah Danson of the University of Sheffield concurred, expressing concern that “a sustained trend in hotter summers will lead to more cases of melanoma and more deaths from melanoma,” while University of Leeds clinician Julia Newton-Bishop reasoned that “this weather is so extreme that I think sunburns will increase…
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