In spite of all the information coming from dermatologists and sunscreen manufacturers, sunlight is NOT the primary cause of skin cancer and actually prevents cancer. Evidence shows that vitamin D is protective of many cancers, including melanoma. There are about 13 other cancers that seem to be positively affected by sunlight, including breast cancer, colon cancer and ovarian cancer.
Melanoma makes up for less than 2% of skin cancer cases and it can metastasize to other organs and become aggressive. This type of cancer is responsible for the majority of skin cancer deaths, but researchers have found that sunlight is not the cause.
Surgical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), Dr. Daniel Colt, shared research on melanoma at a 2012 MSKCC Health Education Seminar that showed startling evidence and cleared up important myths regarding melanoma.
He stated that most melanomas are not related to sun exposure, and therefore sunblock or avoiding sun exposure does not prevent melanoma. He further explained how melanoma is directly related to family history and called it a disease of gene mutations.
A British review from 2002 found results that provided no clear link between sunscreen use and the prevention of melanoma. In fact, 3 studies showed a negative association that there was a significant increase in malignant melanoma with sunscreen use.
Sunlight reduces the risk of cancer because of the vitamin D that increases cell differentiation, suppressing growth signals, reducing cell proliferation, reducing the effect of IGF-1 on cancer progression and inhibits angiogenesis. It is more likely that the low vitamin D level accounts for the rise in skin cancer incidences.
Sunscreen sales have increased dramatically in the past 50 years. About 61% of American adults protect themselves from the sun. In 1970 sales of sunscreen were around $18 million and has grown to almost $400 million annually. We would have seen a rapid decline in cancer rates if sunscreen really did prevent skin cancer. Incidences of skin cancer have been rising instead.
Sunscreen also directly contributes to cancer as well as blocks that vitamin D production. People are exposing themselves to excessive radiation and possible sunburn or sun poisoning when they wear high-protection sunscreen and tend to stay in the sun too long. Chemicals found in many of the sunscreens are toxic endocrine disruptors and damage the heart and liver.
The skin soaks in the sunscreen and then it enters the bloodstream, forming DNA-damaging free radicals. Research shows that the reaction between Octylmethoxycinnamate (OMC) and sunlight was twice as toxic as the chemical on its own.
Think twice before grabbing that high-powered sunscreen that encourages you to stay unhealthy amounts of time in the grueling sun while their chemicals work on your system. Do your research and possibly prevent a fatal skin cancer.
-Dr Fredda Branyon