Sensible Sun Exposure May Reduce Melanoma Risk, Study Finds

A recent study outlined both the risks and benefits of sun exposure. Authors say that sensible sun exposure (without getting sun burn) may actually decrease a person's risk of getting melanoma.
Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from being out in the sun is a leading cause of skin cancer in the United States, prompting many people to lather on sunscreen, seek shade or stay indoors altogether. However, a recent study published in the Journal of Dermo-Endocrinology outlined both the risks and benefits of sunlight. Sensible exposure to sunlight is a key proponent to a healthy lifestyle, noted the authors.

“Advising the public to stay out of sunshine is not a smart thing from a public health standpoint, in my opinion,” David G. Hoel, Ph.D., professor at the Medical University of South Carolina and author of the study said in an interview with CURE.

The study cited the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which stated that 32 percent of Americans have a vitamin D insufficiency. Vitamin D is made in the skin when exposed to sunlight and having high enough levels has been shown to have many health benefits, including improved survival rates for breast cancer.

Authors on the study also said that getting the proper amount of sunlight may actually decrease an individual’s risk for getting melanoma.

“The principal identified non-genetic risk factor is ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure, and the relationship between melanoma and UVR is two-sided: non-burning sun exposure is associated with a reduced risk of melanoma, while sunburns are associated with a doubling of the risk of melanoma,” the study reads.

People who work outdoors have lower incidences of melanoma than indoor workers, according to the study, which also noted that most melanomas occur on body areas that get lower amounts of sunlight.

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