December 19, 2023

Melanoma, anyone?

Collegiate tennis and golf athletes aren’t using enough sunscreen according to a recent survey; meanwhile, the deadly skin cancer melanoma is on the rise.

Collegiate tennis players aren’t using enough sunscreen, a new survey finds. And collegiate golfers aren’t either. 

As reported in Clinics in Dermatology, Georgina Sellyn, MA, Ashley Karpinos, MD, MPH, and research partners surveyed members of tennis and golf teams in five National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I conferences. Spending up to four hours per day outside practicing their sport, one-third of the 84 respondents were unsure or did not believe they were at an increased risk for skin cancer. Half of the respondents use sunscreen less than 75% of the time while playing, and only 5% reapply as recommended. Barriers to applying sunscreen included: “makes my hands slippery” (70%), “I forget to do it” (63%), “I’m too sweaty” (54%), and “it’s time-consuming” (30%). Most respondents do not apply sunscreen to hands, lips or ears and either never or rarely wear sunscreen while outside when they are not playing their sport.  

Melanoma is on the rise. A 2020 study found the annual global burden that year to be 325,000 new cases and 57,000 deaths, forecasting an increase of roughly 50% by 2040. 

Sellyn is a medical student at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and Karpinos is an associate professor of Medicine in the Division of Internal Medicine and Public Health at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. They were joined by researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.