Adults are less exposed to the sun than children and teenagers while showing a more adequate photoprotection than the later (physical protection & sunscreen) (1, 6).

In addition to personal photoprotection the role model function must be emphasized. Parents are the main source of information on UVR and sun protection for their children (7). Parents with higher knowledge and good sun protection for themselves are more likely to protect their children from the sun. The influence on adolescents is certainly less important, but implementing sun protective behavior in your children may encourage appropriate sun protection practices throughout their lifetime (8).



Protection (primary prevention

As in every age sun-conscious behavior, physical photoprotection (clothing, hat, sunglasses) and sunscreen are highly recommended. Even though sun exposure in childhood and adolescence seems crucial for the development of skin cancer, sun protection at older ages can help prevent sunburn and lower skin cancer risk. With regard to steadily increasing life expectancy good photoprotection among adults is likely to reduce skin cancer risk in later decades of life.


Early detection (secondary prevention)

Skin cancer is one of the few cancers we can physically see for ourselves. In its early stages and if detected, diagnosed and treated adequately, almost all cases are curable. Doing monthly skin self-exams and seeing a dermatologist annually helps to act at an early stage. What to look out for?



A mole, birthmark or brown spot that increases in size, thickness, changes color or texture, or is bigger than a pencil eraser.
The ABCDE’s of melanoma:

  • A asymmetry: mole with irregular shapes
  • B border: irregular, notched or scalloped borders
  • C color: many colors or uneven distribution of color
  • D diameter: larger than 6 mm
  • E evolution: changes over time

Actinic Keratosis


An Actinic Keratosis (AK) is a common precancerous lesion and an early warning sign of skin damaged by chronic sun exposure. 
Check your face, lips, ears, forearms, scalp and back of the hands for rough, dry, scaly or crusty patches. AKs are often easier to feel than see. Look out for lesions that are dry and rough to the touch or sensitive and painful under pressure.

Non-melanoma skin cancer


Is the most common skin cancer type. There are different subtypes, but when checking your skin, they present themselves similarly:

  • open sores that do not heal
  • an irritated area or a reddish patch
  • a shiny bump or nodule
  • wart-like lesions that crust and occasionally bleed


Visit the check for skin cancer section for more information!




(1) Blázquez-Sánchez et al. 2021 - Photoprotection habits, attitudes and knowledge among school communities in the Costa del sol (Spain)
(6) Morales-Sánchez et al. 2021 - Sun exposure and sun protection behaviors among teenagers and adults in Mexico City
(7) Reinau et al 2012 - Sun protective behavior of primary and secondary school students in North-Western Switzerland
(8) Stanton et al 2004 – Primary prevention of skin cancer: a review of sun protection in Australia and internationally