Slathering on Sunscreen Does Not Prevent Cancer

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August 02, 2003 | 24,643 views

Scientistsare unsure whether sunscreen prevents against melanoma, thedeadliest type of skin cancer that accounts for more than 75percent of skin cancer deaths. They suggest that sunscreen mayprevent sunburn, but may fail to protect against cancer. Sunscreensare designed to absorb energy from ultraviolet light, howeverthe energy may be transferred to the DNA in skin cells, whichcould cause problems.

Some studies have even found a link between melanoma andsunscreen use, though researchers suggest this may only showthat people who are easily sunburned, who are more likelyto get melanoma, are also more likely to use sunscreen.

Researchers still recommend using sunscreen as it does protectagainst basal cell carcinoma, the most common skin cancerthat is usually easy to treat, and sunburn, and it slows thewrinkling of aging skin.

TheBaltimore Sun July 14, 2003

The most popular article on the site this month was theone on I wrote on sunblockactually causing skin cancer. Having concern about skincancer is valid, as its incidence in the United States hastripled in recent years to 54,000 cases annually. This articletakes the position that sunscreens don't block UVA, whichmakes them ineffective.

However, I believe that it is the worsening omega-3:6ratios, not sunscreens, that are the cause of the increasein skin cancers. In 2001, the National Academy of Sciencespublished a comprehensivereview showing that the omega 6:3 ratio was the key topreventing skin cancer development. An Australianstudy done over 10 years ago showed a 40 percent reductionin melanoma for those who were eating fish, which is richin omega-3s. And this was without any attention to loweringomega-6 fats.

Omega-3 and omega-6 fats are both essential for humanhealth, however the typical American consumes far too manyomega-6 fats in their diet while consuming very low levelsof omega-3. While the ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatsis 1:1, our ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 averages from 20:1to 50:1!

The primary sources of omega-6 are corn, soy, canola,safflower and sunflower oil; these oils are overabundant inthe typical diet, which explains our excess omega-6 levels.Avoid or limit these oils. Omega-3, meanwhile, is typicallyfound in flaxseed oil, walnut oil, and fish.

By far, the best type of omega-3 fats are those foundin that last category, fish. That's because the omega-3 infish is high in two fatty acids crucial to human health, DHAand EPA. These two fatty acids are pivotal in preventing heartdisease, cancer, and many other diseases.

However, since most fish is contaminated with mercury(though we were able to lab test and find an excellent sourceof mercury-free Alaskan salmon,I recommend taking krill oil to get your omega-3. 

Does this mean that I recommend taking some fish oil andgoing out and getting as much sun as you would like?

Absolutely not.

You must exercise caution. At the beginning of the seasongo out in the sun gradually, perhaps as little as 10 minutesa day. Progressively increase your time in the sun so thatin a few weeks you will be able to have normal sun exposurewith little risk of skin cancer.

Remember never to get burned, that is the key.

Remember also never to use sunscreen, another key. Youcan creatively use your clothing to block the sun’s raysduring your build-up time.

The bottom line is, please avoid getting sucked into thehype that sunlight is dangerous. It is only dangerous if youare clueless about fat nutrition, which most medical doctorsare. If you choose to ignore your omega 6:3 ratio and stayout of the sun, you could limit your risk of skin cancer,but is that worth the risk of getting MS, breast or prostatecancer?

Your choice.

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