What Do Golf and Skin Cancer Have In Common?

Golf is one of the most valued sports for both men and women. There is a large following for events like the PGA golf tour, The Masters, and the U.S. Open, but what do all of these thing have in common beyond the sport? Sun exposure.

golfer swing How many visitors and participants in these events do you think follow the recommended guidelines for applying sunscreen? Despite targeted campaigns for golfers, it is crucial to educate people about the importance of sun protection for their health on the golf course.

“Outdoor athletes, in general, need to be cautious” says Dr. Adam Mamelak, a board-certified Dermatologist and Mohs Micrographic Surgeon at Sanova Dermatology in Austin, Texas. Studies have shown that professional golfers receive over 200 times the suggested amount of sun exposure in a day. “When exposed to that much sun, the chances of acquiring skin cancer raises immensely,” he continues.

Professional golfers are not the only ones at risk. “Even recreational golfers can get over 5 times the amount of recommended sun exposure in a single hour,” notes Dr. Mamelak. The course often doesn’t help much either. With vast, treeless areas, lacking the shade that can help prevent over-exposure, and reflective areas composed of water and sand can actually magnify those rays that we encourage outdoor athletes to avoid.

This excessive sun exposure can be fought in multiple ways. Sunscreen, with consistent reapplication will always be the best option when warding off unwanted sun. In addition, many golfer wear caps and wide brim hats, which are great for covering the scalp and face from direct UV exposure. “UPF clothing is also preferred, as it is suited to minimize the amount of sun received through fibers in clothing, as well as being made lighter and comfortable,” explains Dr. Mamelak.

“Whether you are a serious athlete or just enjoy the occasional outdoor recreational activity, I encourage everyone to be  knowledgeable about the best ways that they can safely participate in their preferred sport.” This also helps send a positive message to spectators and those aspiring to fill those athletes’ shoes in the future.

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If you have questions about skin cancer, or are looking for the best ways to protect yourself from overexposure to the sun, please contact us today to set up your appointment today.

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