SYDNEY, July 19 (Xinhua) -- Young people who regularly use sunscreen reduce their risk of skin cancer by 40 percent, according to a study by scientists from Australia's University of Sydney released on Thursday.
The world-first study of 18 to 40 year olds found that regular use of sunscreen reduced the risk of potentially deadly melanoma by 40 percent compared to those who rarely used it.
"The association of sun exposure and sunburn with melanoma risk, particularly in childhood, is well established and this study showed that regularly using sunscreen was protective against the harmful effects of sun exposure," lead researcher, Associate Professor Anne Cust, from Sydney University's School of Public Health and Melanoma Institute said.
Melanoma is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australian men aged 25 to 49, and the second most common, after breast cancer, in Australian women aged 25 to 49.
Approximately two in three Australians will be diagnosed with melanoma or other types of skin cancer by the time they are 70 years old.
But according to Cust, it is still difficult to get people to regularly apply sunscreen, and that likelihood to do so depended on a number of factors.
"Regular users of sunscreen were more likely to be female, younger, of British or northern European ancestry, and have higher education levels, lighter skin pigmentation, and a strong history of blistering sunburn," Cust said.
"People were less likely to use sunscreen if they were male, older, less educated, or had skin that was darker or more resistant to sunburn."
In collaboration with researchers from around the country, Cust and her team analyzed data of around 1,700 people who participated in the Australian Melanoma Family Study.
"This study confirms that sunscreen is an effective form of sun protection and reduces the risk of developing melanoma as a young adult," Cust said.