To Your Health
May, 2011 (Vol. 05, Issue 05)
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Cut Your Skin Cancer Risk

By Editorial Staff

If you want to avoid getting skin cancer, sunscreen is still a wise choice, says research – but don't take it for granted.

Let's review what we know about skin cancer, skin protection and your health: If you stay out of the sun, tanning beds, etc., your chances of getting skin cancer are remarkably low (although not completely eliminated); if you get regular, moderate sun exposure, you'll ensure adequate vitamin D absorption (approximately 10 minutes a day will give you upwards of 10,000 IU; the RDA for vitamin D is 400 IU) and be less likely to develop skin cancer compared with people who experience painful sunburns – even if you spend more overall time in the sun than they do. And while debate runs thick about the effectiveness and safety of sunscreen, a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology emphasizes that if you apply a little lotion, your odds of suffering melanoma go way down.

sunscreen - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark While not the most common form of skin cancer, melanoma is the most dangerous form, causing approximately 75 percent of all skin cancer-related deaths. More than 160,000 new cases are diagnosed worldwide each year. Melanoma can appear on skin sites that do not receive sun exposure, so it's important to check your body regularly and report any skin irregularities to your doctor.

Sunscreen may help prevent melanoma, but it blocks vitamin D absorption, which means if you use it regularly, you need to ensure adequate vitamin D intake from food or supplements. And make sure you don't take it for granted; think moderation when it comes to the sun. You'll be happy you did.