Conference on harmful solar radiation

Published 2012-05-16 00:00. Updated 2013-11-26 10:33

[PRESS INVITATION 16 May 2012] Skin cancer is on the rise and is proving increasingly fatal. A conference has been arranged at Karolinska Institutet to provide an update on the latest research into ultraviolet radiation and cancer, covering everything from genes and radiation damage to sunbathing and solariums. Journalists are invited to the conference to meet with the scientists.

Conference: UV-Radiation induced disease - Roles of UVA and UVB

  • Date: 24-26 May
  • Venue: Nobel Forum, Nobels väg 1, Karolinska Institutet, Solna campus

Every year, there are some 45,000 new cases of skin cancer in Sweden. The most serious form, malignant melanoma, is increasing by four per cent a year, and the mortality rate seems to be on the rise as well. The symposium is sponsored by the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority and is part of the concerted efforts being made to break the negative trend.

Both research and sun protection recommendations have long focused on the short-wave UVB radiation, which makes the skin red and which is strongly associated with cancer.

"But it has recently started to emerge that solar UVA radiation also strongly influences tumour development in the skin," says Johan Hansson, physician and docent of oncology at Karolinska Institutet.

Modern sun screens are subject to more stringent demands on the documentation of UVB filters compared with UVA filters. Sunbeds also mainly use UVA radiation. Researcher Marit B Veieröd from Norway will be presenting a new major study on the cancer risks of sunbed use.

"Unfortunately, solariums are still very popular," says Dr Hansson. "Now, however, there are moves to impose a statutory age limit of 18 on sunbed use owing to their carcinogenic potential."

As one of the world's most renowned researchers on melanoma, Meenhard Herlyn from the USA will be speaking on what radiation does to skin cells and which cells are involved in the development of malignant melanoma. Göran Jönsson from Sweden will be presenting research on the different kinds of malignant melanoma that can develop depending on a person's genetic makeup and the risks to which they have been exposed.

Much has been written about vitamin D lately, and while sunlight boosts the production of this vitamin in the skin, its lack is also thought to be associated with a greater risk of certain skin cancers. Julia Newton Bishop from the UK will be talking about vitamin D and epidemiology.

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