Golfing may be a brilliant warm-weather pastime but scientists say there is a hidden danger associated with this luxury sport. Golfing often requires spending extended periods in the sun, and not wearing sufficient protection during those hours can put players at risk of skin cancer.
A study conducted in Australia found that one in four golfers fell victim to the condition at some point in their lives. Researchers say golfers are 2.4 times more likely to get skin cancer compared to people who don’t play golf.
While skin cancer was diagnosed in just 7% of participants who don’t play golf, a significant 27% of golfers received a skin cancer diagnosis. This indicates that golfers face a risk of developing skin cancer that’s approximately 250% higher than those who do not play the sport.
Australia ranks among the countries with the highest rates of skin cancer due to several reasons such as increased UV exposure because of its geographic location and genetic factors typically found in its residents. However, researchers say the factors clearly aren’t the sole reason why golfers get the disease.
Between two to three million cases of non-melanoma skin cancers and around 132,000 cases of potentially fatal melanoma skin cancers are reported annually across the world. Every third cancer diagnosed worldwide is related to the skin. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation Statistics, one in five Americans will experience skin cancer in their lifetime.
“Our previous research, and that of others worldwide, has demonstrated the positive impact of golf on people’s health, including physical, mental, and cognitive well-being,” lead author Brad Stenner told UPI. “The cumulative effects of sun exposure do increase the risks of skin cancer, regardless of where you live.”
The study, led by Stenner and his team, analyzed health data from 336 golf players who took an online survey in 2018. They compared the players’ responses with health information from about 16,000 others, which were collected as part of a larger health survey.
While older golfers may have been exposed to UV rays before playing golf, the study didn’t gather data on their actual UV exposure. Stenner emphasized that UV radiation is a ” “very well-established” cause of skin cancer.
The findings of the study were published in BMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine.
Stenner also suggested some quick protections for golfers to stay away from the problem.
“It is important for all golfers, including younger golfers, to reduce the risk of skin cancer through the use of sun-protective strategies. We suggest and support broad-brimmed hats, sunglasses, high SPF (sun protection factor) sunscreen, reapplied regularly, and long sleeves or trousers if possible,” he said, adding that wearing sunscreen on arms and legs is a must.
Published by Medicaldaily.com