Slathering on Sunscreen Does Not Prevent Cancer

Scientists are unsure whether sunscreen prevents against melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer that accounts for more than 75 percent of skin cancer deaths. They suggest that sunscreen may prevent sunburn, but may fail to protect against cancer. Sunscreens are designed to absorb energy from ultraviolet light, however the energy may be transferred to the DNA in skin cells, which could cause problems.

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

Researchers still recommend using sunscreen as it does protect against basal cell carcinoma, the most common skin cancer that is usually easy to treat, and sunburn, and it slows the wrinkling of aging skin.

The Baltimore Sun July 14, 2003

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

The most popular article on the site this month was the one on I wrote on sunblock actually causing skin cancer. Having concern about skin cancer is valid, as its incidence in the United States has tripled in recent years to 54,000 cases annually. This article takes the position that sunscreens don't block UVA, which makes them ineffective.

However, I believe that it is the worsening omega-3:6 ratios, not sunscreens, that are the cause of the increase in skin cancers. In 2001, the National Academy of Sciences published a comprehensive review showing that the omega 6:3 ratio was the key to preventing skin cancer development. An Australian study done over 10 years ago showed a 40 percent reduction in melanoma for those who were eating fish, which is rich in omega-3s. And this was without any attention to lowering omega-6 fats.

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

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

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

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

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

Absolutely not.

You must exercise caution. At the beginning of the season go out in the sun gradually, perhaps as little as 10 minutes a day. Progressively increase your time in the sun so that in a few weeks you will be able to have normal sun exposure with little risk of skin cancer.

Remember never to get burned, that is the key.

Remember also never to use sunscreen, another key. You can creatively use your clothing to block the sun’s rays during your build-up time.

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

Your choice.

Related Articles:

How Supermodel Gisele Bundchen "Infuriated Cancer Experts"

Learn Why the Myth of the Sun Causing Skin Cancer Can Hurt Your Health

Sun-Care Chemical Proves Toxic in Lab Tests

Let the Sun Shine In (Especially When Pregnant)

Sunlight Influences Your Risk of Getting Sick

Sunlight Actually Prevents Cancer

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