Friday, July 20, 2012

Sun Exposure May Prevent Skin Cancer



Doctors and the media have long been spreading the message that sun exposure increases the risk of skin cancer.  However, the current research does not support this conclusion.  Several studies have shown that appropriate sun exposure actually helps prevent skin cancer.

Melanoma occurrence has been found to decrease with greater sun exposure and can be increased by sunscreens.  Research has revealed that melanoma is actually more common in indoor workers than in outdoor workers.  It is also more common on regions of the body that are not exposed to sunlight at all.

Even after a person has melanoma, sunlight can be beneficial.  One study on this subject revealed that melanoma patients with higher levels of sun exposure were actually less likely to die than other melanoma patients.  Patients who already had melanoma and got a lot of sun exposure were also prone to a less aggressive tumor type. 

Another Italian study, published in the European Journal of Cancer in June 2008, also confirms and supports earlier studies showing improved survival rates in melanoma patients who were exposed to sunlight more frequently in the time before their melanoma was diagnosed.  Further, UVB radiation has been found to delay the appearance of melanoma if you are genetically predisposed or prone to skin cancer.

The aformentioned research begs the question, "Why is the sun so beneficial, even in cases of melanoma?"   Because it is through sunlight exposure that your body is able to produce vitamin D, and healthy vitamin D levels are key to preventing numerous types of cancer-including melanoma.

To use the sun to maximize your vitamin D production and minimize your risk of malignant melanoma, sunbathe in the middle of the day (roughly between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.). During this time you need the shortest exposure time to produce vitamin D.  You only need enough exposure to turn your skin the lightest shade of pink.  Once you reach this point your body will not make any additional vitamin D and could become damaged (burned).  If you have fair skin, this may be only 10-20 minutes.  The darker your skin pigmentation is, the longer your body needs to optimize your vitamin D levels. 

Source: 

"Sun CAN Actually Help Protect You Against Skin Cancer," www.mercola.com.

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