Here Comes the Sun
We’ve all been told to use sunscreen to protect us from the sun’s rays – which for two generations have been said to be a bad thing for us. However, a new study from sheds some “light” on the subject. This national report correlated the amount of sun exposure to risks of developing specific types of cancer (such as lung, prostate, pancreas, colon, and many others). The results indicated an inverse relationship to the amount of exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) to a variety of cancers. There were over 450,000 people in the study from 50-71 years of age whose health aspects were followed for nine years. They came from six states and other risk factors for cancer (such as smoking, body mass index, and physical activity) were controlled for. All of the cancers mentioned above were reduced. The incidence of melanoma was increased for study members, which would be expected, and there was no changed in the incidence of breast cancer, ovarian and uterine cancers in women. This may be due to a lower exposure to sunlight by women.
The results of this study by Lin and colleagues from the NIH show between a 3-19% decrease in specific types of cancers due to exposure to the sunlight. This is an important study because of the number of people involved, and what we know about the benefits of Vitamin D in cancer prevention. It is an important research report that should change the way people think about sun exposure and the absorption of Vitamin D and its healing effects on the body.
Our intuitive reasoning is that if we are going to spend time in the sun – we should use a sunscreen. However, information from the health web site Natural News has been preaching that using sunscreen in and of itself may be a risk factor for cancer because of the chemicals used in the formula. It is also known that the risks for developing melanoma increase between 10 am and 2 pm when the sun’s rays are the highest in the sky. People should not spend four or more hours in the sun, and it is also known that natural products such as grape seed oil have a high antioxidant level in their makeup, and can be used as a protective application on the skin.
As the summer season approaches in many areas of the country, people again will be at the beach, and out in the sun. Taking the right precautions – such as doing yard work in the early morning, or later afternoon, and using a t-shirt even while at the beach, are smart decisions regarding saving the skin from over exposure. Using oils such as grape seed are also a good idea to keep the skin more protected. Lastly – we need to rethink using such screens as the sole method for sun protection due to the fact that they may indeed be risk factors if used in large amounts. So – enjoy the sun this summer, and remember that there is a dose of Vitamin D waiting for you while you play.
Grant WB. An ecological study of cancer mortality rates in California, 1950-64, with respect to solar UVB and smoking indices. Dermatoendocrinol., epub April 2012.
Lin SW, Wheeler DC, Park Y, Cahoon EK, Hollenbeck AR, Michal Freedman D, Abnet CC. Prospective study of ultraviolet radiation exposure and risk of cancer in the U.S. Int J Cancer. 2012 Apr 26.
About the Author
Eric Durak is the President of Medical Health and Fitness in Santa Barbara, CA. He is the director of the Wellness @ Home program for home care professionals, and has worked his entire career in clinical exercise and The Cancer Wellness Company. Eric has produced award winning programs for wellness and fitness in diabetes, cancer, bariatrics, arthritis, and renal disease. He may be reached at 805-451-1745.
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© 2012, All Rights Reserved by Eric Durak, Medical Health & Fitness
Posted June 2012 on www.SeniorsResourceGuide.com