A study by the World Congress on Cancer says that U.S. military that are deployed to sunny climates are not being adequately protected from most common types of skin cancer. In a previous study 34% of veterans who were deployed to tropical climates developed melanomas compared to 6% of non-military patients in tropical climates. In this latest study, only 22% of military personnel were made aware of the risk of sun exposure. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of military personnel reported to being exposed to bright sunlight for more than 4 hours daily and only 27% had regular access to sunscreen. Thirty-two percent (32%) of the respondents in the study reported to having no access to sunscreen at all.
With limited or no access to sunscreen, 62% of military personnel have reported to getting severe sunburns and, in some cases, blistering. They also noticed a change in color, shape or size of moles on the skin in 29% of the cases. After returning home from deployment, only 4% received skin examinations from a physician.
The government needs to make it mandatory for the health of military personnel to protect their skin by making sunscreen a part of their field equipment and educate them on the use of sunscreen.
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Prager, E. (2014). Skin Cancer Foundation, “Soldiers placed at risk of skin cancer, study reveals”. Retrieved September 17, 2014, from: