Overexposure to Ultraviolet radiation can cause cancer – Dr. Anita Owusu Afriyie 

By Ruth Dery 

Tema, Feb. 27, GNA – Overexposure to Ultraviolet (UV) radiation can lead to serious health issues, including cancer, Dr.  Anita Owusu-Afriyie a Medical Officer, in the Oncology Unit of the International Maritime Hospital (IMaH) has warned the public. 

“Ultraviolet radiation is a form of non-ionizing radiation that is emitted by the sun and artificial sources, such as tanning beds. While it has some benefits for people, including the creation of Vitamin D, it also can cause health risks.”  

“Exposure to UV rays can cause premature ageing of the skin and signs of sun damage such as wrinkles, leathery skin, liver spots, actinic keratosis, and solar elastosis. UV rays can also cause eye problems,” Dr  Owusu-Afriyie stated. 

Dr Owusu-Afriyie gave the caution at the “Your Health! Our Concern! is a Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Office initiative that seeks to set the medium for the propagation of health information to influence personal health choices by improving health literacy. 

The IMaH Medical Officer stressed that depending on the amount and form of the radiation, as well as on the skin type of the individual exposed, ultraviolet radiation also causes erythema, sunburn, photodamage (photoaging), photocarcinogenesis, alteration of the immune system of the skin, and chemical hypersensitivity 

She, therefore, cautioned the public to reduce exposure to ultraviolet radiation.  

Dr Owusu-Afriyie noted that overexposure to UV radiation was one of the leading causes of skin cancers and limiting exposure can help reduce the risk.  

She disclosed that infants and children were particularly vulnerable to UV radiation, as well as fair-skinned people “but everyone should be careful.”  

“A child’s skin is much thinner than an adult’s and more prone to developing skin cancer in later life. Protect your child or baby from UV radiation, which is extremely important,” Dr Owusu-Afriyie noted. 

She advised the public to wear protective clothing and a broad-brimmed sunhat, stressing that sunglasses with 100 per cent UV protection are also useful and very important. 

Dr Owusu-Afriyie encouraged people to sit in the shade and avoid prolonged exposure between 1000 hours and 1600 hours. 

“Try to keep infants and children out of the sun during the peak hours, look for trees and other naturally shady areas for children to play. Take extra precautions to protect babies from the sun,” she noted. 

The IMaH Medical Officer noted that “if for whatever reason the child cannot be kept out of the sun, parents must make sure to protect their skin and eyes.”

She encouraged the public to frequently examine their skin through the mirror and be sure to visit the hospital when there was any skin discolouration, new or change in the size, colour and shape of moles on the skin with excessive itches or bleeding. 

Dr  Owusu-Afriyie also urged the public to eat healthy diets, maintain a healthy weight, be active, avoid risky behaviours, protect the skin from the sun, get vaccinated, and seek regular medical care for healthy living.