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surfers getting skin cancer

The sun is great, until it’s not. Photo: Unsplash

The Inertia

It might be a bit of a no-brainer, but according to a study from Australia’s Southern Cross University, surfers are 120 times more likely to develop melanoma skin cancer. The study used a a high-resolution digital dermatoscope with in-built artificial intelligence.

Some 420 people from Southern Queensland and Northern New South Wales were included, and they were just surfers. Swimmers, walkers, and runners, took part, too. According to Project leader Associate Professor Mike Climstein, it was the most extensive screening study on that particular group ever conducted. Climstein said that while swimmers were 80 times more likely than the general population for melanoma, regular walkers/runners were 60 times higher.

“There is widespread enthusiasm from clinicians to use artificial intelligence (AI) to help detect skin cancer, and these studies are promising, showing these tools may be equal to or even superior to specialists for the detection of malignant melanomas,” Professor Climstein said. “Early detection rates would greatly benefit Australia, which has the world’s highest incidence of malignant melanomas per capita, with those residing in Queensland and Northern NSW at highest risk. These AI tools may help in the difficult task of diagnosing early skin cancers which often have a lack of obvious clinical features or may blend into sun damaged skin.”

The findings are a reminder to anyone who spends time in the sun to have their skin checked annually and to wear sunscreen, even when it’s cloudy.


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