The Risk of Skin Cancer Around the World

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After months of winter and cloudy skies, many look forward to the light and warmth of the summer sun. But enjoying the sun also carries the risk of sunburn. While some UV radiation is essential for the production of vitamin D and the treatment of certain health conditions, prolonged sun exposure causes skin damage and increases the risk of developing skin cancer.

To help inform the public of the risks of UV radiation, the World Health Organization publishes UV index values for a range of countries around the globe. Organizations in many countries report, along with the daily weather conditions, the daily UV index. To compare the risks of skin cancer, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed and ranked UV values in select sites around the world.

As might be expected, the cities with the greatest risk of skin cancer from sun exposure are nearer to the equator. However, latitude is only one of many contributing factors.

Geographical variables within a city can also change the risk of skin damage from sun exposure. While cloud cover does not eliminate the risk of sunburn, clouds do absorb UV radiation and result in less intense UV radiation at ground level. Elevation is also a factor, with UV intensity increasing at about 6% per kilometer of elevation above sea level.

Click here to see the risks of skin cancer around the world.
Click here to see our detailed findings and methodology.