Post by Kendall
We’ve all heard it.. our parents reminding us to put on sunscreen before a summer day at the pool, beach, or the lake. Those of us that have heeded our parents warnings had a pleasant experience. Those who decided to build sand castles out under the sun for 6 hours with no sunscreen, won’t forget it either. When I was 7 years old I remember the situation vividly. That’s the type of sunburn you never forget. Everyone has jumped on the bandwagon of skin protection with ads promoting wrinkle free skin, retaining youthful looking skin, as well as the bombardment of sunscreen and their advances. It’s true skin cancer is possible, and maybe to some extent, inevitable for people with excessive, unprotected sun exposure. Should skin cancer be a concern?
In 2007 there were 60,000 cases of melanoma (the most serious form of skin cancer) in the US. That cancer contributed to 8,000 deaths that year. The 5 year localized survival rate is 99%, while the 5 year overall survival rate is 91%. In my opinion the odds are not bad. This is for the serious skin cancer guys, this isn’t even recognizing the more mild forms of skin cancer.
Let’s contrast that to prostate cancer where 217,000 cases will be diagnosed in US men this year, and 32,000 men will die. It is the second leading cause of death in men, behind only lung cancer.
Statistics courtesy of the American Cancer Society at www.cancer.org
Although not as well known as the relationship between sun exposure and skin cancer, there is another relationship with sun exposure and other types of cancer, specifically, breast, prostate, and colon cancer. It is an inverse relationship. The more sun exposure, the less risk for incidence of cancer. So why are we throwing on all this sunblock that is constantly being improved to the point that no UV light is reaching our skin anymore? Why is this awareness of decreased sun exposure and increased risk of other cancers not receiving public attention? It has been known since the 1930s!
Is the benefit of sunblock worth the risk of developing other cancers?
Shoot me your ideas and let’s solve this!
* Solar UV Spectrum
o Which one is important for Vitamin D
o Is direct exposure required?
+ Can UV penetrate through glass (driving in a car), clothing?
* Vitamin D
o Textbook information
+ structure, storage, function
o Renal Vitamin D vs. Extra-renal Vitamin D
o Studies that connect vitamin D deficiency to breast cancer (girls look up), prostate cancer (boys look up), colon cancer (everyone look up)
o Active vs. Inactive Vitamin D
o Will supplements of vitamin D have same effect as vitamin D formed in skin from the sun?
o How much vitamin D do we need?
o How much sunlight exposure do we need?
* Melanin and Skin Tones, cancer rates related to skin tone
* Breast, prostate, colon basic info
o Do studies of these cancer rates in specific races/ethnicities to see if skin tone is a culprit
*Skin cancer (to provide contrasting view and argument for sunblock)
+ Types, Causes
+ Are there increased risk groups?
* Finally! Non-skin Cancer Rates and Connection to Vitamin D
o Is there a correlation?
o Does correlation equal causation? (No, but what can we infer from it)
* With new found knowledge, make decision if sunblock is causing a greater risk in your life in the form of other cancers than protection from skin cancer
Since you are getting screwed with cancer either way, which one would you rather have?
Which has a greater survival rate?
Which cancer has an advanced treatment plan?