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Sunscreen Not So Good for You?

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the shibboleth-busters dept.

Biotech 616

j-beda writes "Don't like sunscreen? Maybe that tan is good for you. It looks like people are rethinking the common wisdom of avoiding sun exposure... "research suggests that vitamin D might help prevent 30 deaths for each one caused by skin cancer". Maybe if Kurt Vonnegut ever does address MIT grads, he will say something else..."

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Uhm (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12983858)

Who the fuck is Kurt Vonnegut?

Re:Uhm (1)

pocket heston (447206) | more than 9 years ago | (#12984012)

up your fuckin ass

yeah, really nice... (5, Funny)

Maavin (598439) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983862)

I'm a vampire, you insensitive clod !

Re:yeah, really nice... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12983908)

it's really cool, how the second post ist modded 'redundant'

Common sense (5, Insightful)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983863)

No sun -> little vitamin D production = bad.
Some sun -> vitamin D production = good.
Ridiculous amounts of sun -> high risk for cancer = bad.

I didn't read the article, but most things are OK on modetate doses. Cholesterol, for example, is necessary for the body to function.

Too much of any one thing is seldom a good idea.

Re:Common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12983891)

i consume no cholesterol and function fine (have for years) thank you very much.

Re:Common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12983943)

Go get your cholesterol checked. If it's zero then you'll have a point :-)

Re:Common sense (1)

cakesy (886563) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983898)

I have been telling my mates this for years. One of the problems with sunscreen, is that people put it on in the morning, then spend all day in the sun, whereas people who don't put any on are much more careful. People just don't want to hear it, how can tv be wrong Of course, when I explained it to them I happened to mention that it was a conspiracy by the cancer foundation!

Re:Common sense (4, Informative)

dirty (13560) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983920)

The study says you should get about 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure a day. Sun screen is still good for you, and it's not an excuse to lay on the beach for hours tanning. Basically you just need to go for a short walk outside every day, which is good for you for other reasons, and you'll be ok.

Re:Common sense (3, Interesting)

Sique (173459) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983990)

No. The 15 mins is the "sun fun" dose. That's the one that is considered without any effect on the skin, and that's the one where the sun protection factor is calculated from (a protection factor of 10 means: 150 min is the sun fun dose if you wear a 10 sunscreen). It hasn't too much to do with the amount of Vitamin D3 production.

Re:Common sense (3, Interesting)

Clay Pigeon -TPF-VS- (624050) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983998)

You assume that all people naturally can withstand 15 minutes. I burn after 5, and I live in Michigan.

Re:Common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12984022)

It only works if you go outside more than once a year.

Re:Common sense (4, Insightful)

Dashing Leech (688077) | more than 9 years ago | (#12984013)

"The study says you should get about 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure a day."

Not exactly. That's a quote on what "many scientists believe", not an outcome of the study(-ies). Other quotes from the article include that skin cancer has only been linked to chronic long-term suntanning, as in many hours per day over decades, and that "The skin can handle it, just like the liver can handle alcohol," suggesting that occasional multi-hour exposure to the sun (say a few times per month) might not be problematic at all. That being said, I don't think anybody would suggest enough exposure for sunburns is good.

Re:Common sense (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983952)

Sure, if you're one of these idiots who falls asleep on a beach towel to get a tan (which, honestly, I've always found kind of disgusting looking), you should probably use sunscreen.

But you certainly don't need sunscreen to cope with the 30 minutes you spend each day walking from your car to the office and back to the car again, and to and from lunch down the street and taking the garbage out when you get home at the end of the day.

And yeah, I'll repeat that - tans are gross. Darker skin is attractive if it's natural. More pale tones are attractive, if they're natural. But some white chick trying to tan herself into J-Lo is just gross and looks... uncomfortable.

Re:Common sense (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12983997)

I know that nerds don't like sun but to find a tan gross and sleeping on the beach disgusting... Man you're sick.

Re:Common sense (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 9 years ago | (#12984024)

Hey, if you are into people who look like they've been broiled, that's your business. When I see some chick whose main goal in life is to roast, the only impression it leaves on me is that of a pathetic, self-concious, insecure superficial prat. Then, to top it off, they're almost always the same chicks who then feel they have to bleach their hair some sort of platinum color so they look completely cheesecaked and washed-out (think the worst Christina Aguilar photo you've probably come across).

Ick ick ick.

Re:Common sense (1, Offtopic)

Des Herriott (6508) | more than 9 years ago | (#12984034)

When I see some chick whose main goal in life is to roast, the only impression it leaves on me is that of a pathetic, self-concious, insecure superficial prat

Too right. Not to mention the fact that by the time she's 30, she'll have the skin of a 50-year old. Assuming she hasn't died of a malignant melanoma or some such beforehand.

Re:Common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12984020)

The human body actually has no requirement for cholesterol. It makes all it needs.

Ah (5, Funny)

ScribeOfTheNile (694546) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983864)

Ah, so not only tanning makes you look cool, it saves you from dying? Yet another great reason to give in to peer-pressure! o:)

Re:Ah "Go quietly into... (1)

HungWeiWeiHai (896959) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983924)

that dark (box/coffin) after going roastingly into the sun"?

Maybe skin cancer brought on by too much personal enjoyment of the sun is nature's way of limiting who gets tans and survives...

Maybe the rub-on-tan business won't (R.O.T.) after all...wait, that must be the spay on tan...

Seems like a lot of people want to collect up their tan credits before facing that eventual coffin. Actually, seems like a lot of people want to burn out and burn up those bodies, but think there is a lease-break option available.

Kurt Vonnegut (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12983868)

It wasn't Kurt Vonnegut who made the "Wear Sunscreen" speech although it has often been attributed to him. It was actually a female columnist with a Chicago (I think) paper.

Re:Kurt Vonnegut (2, Informative)

The Ivan (848147) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983880)

It was also attributed to Baz Luhrmann as the smashing hit single, "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)"!

Re:Kurt Vonnegut (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12983881)

For Luhrmann, though, it's more than a hit song. It has become a watershed event in New Media. He says: "What I think is extraordinary, apart from the inherent values in the ideas, is that we were experiencing ourselves a historical moment in the life of the Internet, an example of how massive publishing power is in the hands of anyone with access to a PC."
From the speed and coverage of the disinformation spread, it was one of the first and finest examples of Monkey Poo-Casting!

Re:Kurt Vonnegut (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12983906)

The lame video was brought to you by the same ass-clown that made the Gay John Woo version of Romeo and Juliet.

Re:Kurt Vonnegut (3, Funny)

_Shorty-dammit (555739) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983913)

which is why the post says *if he ever does* give a commencement address there... You're right, at least according to this. []

Re:Kurt Vonnegut (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12983978)

STFU u faggit

Re:Kurt Vonnegut (3, Funny)

Scarblac (122480) | more than 9 years ago | (#12984032)

That's exactly what the link he gives in his submission explains, duh.

The answer, like almost every argument on health.. (0, Redundant)

3.5 stripes (578410) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983870)

is, everything in moderation.

Too much sun = bad, too little sun = bad, some sun = just about right.

That wasn't hard now was it?

Holy cow, I blind duped max's comment (1)

3.5 stripes (578410) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983876)

I'd say great minds think alike, but I'm not a great mind...

Re:The answer, like almost every argument on healt (2)

weg (196564) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983936)

For those of us that don't understand fuzzy logic, what's "too much", "too little" and "some" in Lux?

Re:The answer, like almost every argument on healt (4, Insightful)

3.5 stripes (578410) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983969)

That all depends on your genetic origins, for someone like me, of northern european decent, with blonde hair, blue eyes and freckles, more than 30 minutes of sun during the hottest hours of the day is "too much". For someone of african decent, there probably isn't an upper limit (although without ozone that might not be true). For someone of southern italian decent, more than a few hours is too much.

Too little would be calculated by your necessity for Vitamin D.. I'd imagine less than an hour of exposure weekly might put you in that category, but I'm no nutritionalist.

BTW, I'm not a programmer either, what's Lux?

Re:The answer, like almost every argument on healt (2, Informative)

Sique (173459) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983999)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. []

The lux (symbol: lx) is the SI derived unit of illuminance or illumination. It is equal to one lumen per square metre.

Re:The answer, like almost every argument on healt (1)

3.5 stripes (578410) | more than 9 years ago | (#12984027)

Cool, you learn something new every day...

Re:The answer, like almost every argument on healt (1)

m4dm4n (888871) | more than 9 years ago | (#12984009)

Too much = getting burnt = different for each person.
Too little = not enough vitamin D = different for each person.
Some = the right amount of vitamin D = different for each person.

How do you expect to get set numbers in Lux?

This is news? (1)

Sebastian Jansson (823395) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983872)

It has been known for quite some long time that you get Vitamin D from sun bathing. It's also known that it is important. If you want to keep the cake and eat it you can buy vitamins and eat them instead of sun batching though. Why risk cancer when you can solve the problem without it?

Re:This is news? (5, Informative)

Shano (179535) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983905)

If you bothered to read the article, you would be aware that there are different forms of vitamin D, and that most pills contain a different form than that produced by sunbathing (and also not very much of it).

It also noted that excessive vitamin D from pills can lead to a build-up of calcium in the body (not a good thing), which is not an issue with sunbathing.

Vitamin pills shouldn't be necessary at all - if you need them, then there's something wrong with your diet and/or lifestyle.

Re:This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12984028)

And in addition to that, latest studies on the field suggest that getting vitamins in pill form does not replace getting vitamins from natural sources, in fact it can in some cases be harmful. The first study coming to this conclusion was conducted in Finland over two decades ago, and backed up by a more recent study.

Bullshit Health "Science" (5, Insightful)

bobbis.u (703273) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983873)

Is anyone else tired of all this dietary/health "science" telling you what you should and should not be eating, and what you should or should not be doing?

It seems like you just need to use a modicum of common sense. Too much of anything is bad for you. The less "natural" and more refined a product is the less likely it is to be good for you. It is healthy to get outside and do some exercise every now and then.

All this research seems to contradict itself every few years anyway. I suspect a lot of scientists misuse/misunderstand their own data, either to match their own preconceptions, or to make a headline grabbing story like this one.

Re:Bullshit Health "Science" (1)

cakesy (886563) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983912)

The problem with common sense is that it is not so common anymore. People rely on being told what to do, they can no longer focus on the bigger picture. Of course I blame the break down of society.

Re:Bullshit Health "Science" (5, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983933)

Science doesn't "tell you" anything. People do tests and discover results. Sometimes you get to hear about the results. Once upon a time it was discovered that invisible entities called "germs" were bad for you. That was considered nonsense at the time, but nethertheless doctors experimented with washing their hands before performing an operation and more people survived operations. Now we know about how unhealthy it is to eat too much food, especially fatty, salty or artificially processed food. You can ignore that if you like, but if you're care to quickly flick through some of the statistics available in, say, the US, you'll see just how many people die every day because of their poor choice of diet.

It would appear that "science" still has much to "tell us" about what we should be doing. I'm not sure that "science" cares whether "it" grabs headlines or otherwise. Science, as a way of exploring the universe, will continue to be used long after we've stopped shovelling burgers down our fat, greedy necks!

Re:Bullshit Health "Science" (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983961)

At the risk of lowering myself to a 'me2', well said.

Re:Bullshit Health "Science" (5, Interesting)

Sique (173459) | more than 9 years ago | (#12984019)

Now we know about how unhealthy it is to eat too much food, especially fatty, salty or artificially processed food.

And even the old wisdom that a fatty diet is bad for you, gets challenged. It seems that your LDL/HDL Cholesterine ratio is not easily to change with a low fat diet at all (it seems to be more predetermined by your genetics), and the so called mediterran diet (with 40% of the food energy coming from fat) seems to cause the people to live longer than the usually recommended 30%-energy-from-fat diets.

Re:Bullshit Health "Science" (5, Insightful)

Zwets (645911) | more than 9 years ago | (#12984001)

No, the main problem is the same as with Slashdot submitters and editors: sensationalism.

Most researchers are careful about what claims they make. But 'journalists' come along and present their findings in a sensationalist and inaccurate manner in order to make the story appear more interesting.

Re:Bullshit Health "Science" (2, Funny)

TheKnave (879982) | more than 9 years ago | (#12984011)

Since they still can't decide whether butter is better for you than margarine I'm inclined to agree.

Re:Bullshit Health "Science" (2, Insightful)

mizhi (186984) | more than 9 years ago | (#12984031)

I don't think it's the scientists that are the problem. It's the media and the attention whores that cause these sensationalistic headlines to appear. And it's not that health news isn't important, it's just that media, and media consumers have the attention spans of houseflies.

If it's in the news, then it becomes the thing to do to ensure good health. Atkins, South Beach, Omega-3, Macrobiotic, Whole foods, Eggs good, eggs bad, alcohol good, alcohol bad, fat, non-fat, some fat, low-fat, trans-fat, saturated fat, refined sugar, cane sugar, aspartame, splenda, slightly overweight = bad = good = maybe, etc.

Like every other health announcement, this will be amplified in the echo chamber of national news for the next week. Health professions will bicker over how much is bad and how much is good. And businesses will find a way to cash in. Within a month, we'll see sunscreen with advertising that says something to the effect of "Let's in a little sun for that precious vitamin-D."

Here's some rules of thumb: workout a little each day, eat healthy foods until you are comfortably full, drink water, get enough sun to ensure that you are distinguishable from paper, but not enough such that your skin could be used to reupholster a leather couch, find some destressing activities, and get enough sleep.

It makes digesting the constant blare of health alerts much easier and allows one to focus on the truly important announcements. Like "lead causes cancer" and not "eating 150% of your weight in sacharin each day may cause cancer." (I exaggerate, but you get the drift).

I hate ranting when I don't intend to.

Re:Bullshit Health "Science" (4, Informative)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 9 years ago | (#12984044)

The problem isn't science, but things that masquarade as science.

Science is about repeatable controlled experiments that yield consistent results. Repeatable means that you need to understand what exactly is going on in your experimental setup so that somebody else can reproduce it. Controlled means you account for all variables and only vary one at a time.

The problem is that doing all this correctly with people costs a LOT of money. So, instead we settle for sloppy studies that aren't well-controlled, then everybody starts talking about how useless science is when five people do the "same" study and come up with different conclusions. Some of the common flaws:

The only really effective way to these kinds of tests on people is with placebo-controlled clinical trials. Take 2000 people, split them into a few groups which are as similar as possible in makeup, and make them all spend 15 minutes a day blindfolded in a tanning booth, and make them all take pills. Some groups don't actually get any UV, but the experience is simulated so that they don't realize this. Some groups do get the UV. Some groups get various vitamin D supplements (with or without vitamin A), and some groups get placebos. At least one group gets neither UV or a supplement. Then follow the group over 50 years and see what the results are. Such an experiment should be both conclusive and repeatable.

Of course, most scientists want their results next year and have limited budgets, so they're not going to start a 50-year study that they won't even be alive to see the end of. Instead, they just look at random dead people and try to guess how much time they spent in the sun and what pills they have taken.

Even modern drug clinical trials have all kinds of issues (clearly seen in recent high-profile drug recalls) - these trials are very carefully controlled trials subject to all kinds of review and which cost hundreds of millions of dollars to perform.

So, the problem isn't a failure in science. The problem is that sometimes we aren't patient enough or resourceful enough to use science, and instead resort to something else and call it "science". Science isn't very practical when dealing with people - they live a long time, you can't just put them in cages, you have to pay them, and you can't do much in the way of manipulating them. Most real biological science uses other animals as a result (Need some subjects with cancer? Just breed them to be prone to it.)...

Re:Bullshit Health "Science" (2, Informative)

Dashing Leech (688077) | more than 9 years ago | (#12984045)

"The less "natural" and more refined a product is the less likely it is to be good for you."

Hey, you're right. I'm giving up my granola bar snack and going to eat dog shit instead. It's much more natural and less refined. If I can't find dog shit I might try a scoop of mud. OK, I'm carrying it too far. In reality I'll just eat more natural vegetables like rhubarb. It can't possibly be harmful [] to me because it's natural.

Depends where you live (5, Informative)

Chris Oz (684680) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983877)

In Australia, we have much higher UV levels than you do in the northern hemisphere. Skin cancer is a real concern. I have several friends that have had cancerous growth removed while they were in their twenties. Certainly vitamin D deficiencies can be a problem, however this can easily fixed with very low exposure levels. If you ever visit Australia use sunscrean or become a lobster in 15 minutes.

Re:Depends where you live (2, Interesting)

NewtonsLaw (409638) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983942)

In Australia, we have much higher UV levels than you do in the northern hemisphere

Ain't that the truth!

I've been to the UK and California (during the northern hemisphere mid-summer) and could not believe how hazy the sky was compared to Australia and NZ.

I went from mid-winter here (NZ) to mid-summer in the northern hemisphere and (my then lilly-white body) didn't even get pink, despite spending several full days in the "blazing" sun.

Down these parts (as the original poster said), you can get lobsterized in under half an hour through direct exposure to sunlight, any time from October through March (mid-spring to mid fall).

What's more -- the sky is *really* blue and clear (you can even see the horizon :-) down on this part of the globe.

Re:Depends where you live (1)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983955)

"If you ever visit Australia use sunscrean or become a lobster in 15 minutes."

Amen to that - I burn very easily so I was wearing factor 50 cream + a T-shirt when I went swimming in the sea at Cairns. I stayed in the water for no more than 20 mins, I never sunbathe and always sit under sun umbrellas. The next day I was in agony and went to the pharmacist who sent me straight to the doctor. Doc prescribed steriods for the burns - the top of my back and shoulders came up in blisters and I was in severe pain for about 3 days before the blisters burst and the skin dried. I spent the next few days shedding skin.

Now, I thought I was being careful and have never experienced anything like the Aussie sun, even during trips to The USA (Georgia and Arizona). South Africa and Thailand.

Oohh yeah, depends on where you live (3, Funny)

hyfe (641811) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983965)

On the same note; in Norway it doesn't matter much if you use sunscreen or not..

.. the 5 layers of clothes you have to wear to stop from freezing to death usually block the sun quite nicely.

Re:Depends where you live (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983992)

Hah ! I was in Oz for for a month in March and it pretty much rained non-stop. Every time we spent the day driving somewhere the rain stopped and the sun came out - until we got out of the car.

So much for suncsreen !

Re:Depends where you live (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12984039)

Agreed - but the hemisphere is not the only modifier. I live in Colorado. The plains next to the mountains are at approximately 1650 meters above sea level. The modifiers are:

(1) Altitude - UV increases 4% for 300 meters of altitude. Modifier = ~1.2x
(2) Frequent snow (obviously only ~5 months of the year) - Snow can reflect 90% of UV, scattering upwards. Modifier = ~1.9x

Winter exposure factor: 1.2 * 1.9 = ~2.2 times the UV exposure as at sea level (we typically get snowfall overnight then the days have brilliantly clear blue skies).

Sand reflects 25% of UV, so summer exposure would be: 1.2 * 1.25 = ~1.5 times the UV as at sea level.

Anyway, the upshot of this is that you burn like crazy if you're not careful skiing - and I can catch a noticable tan just driving 20 minutes to work with the sunroof open (then I lurk inside all day doing computery stuff).

(FYI, I took those numbers from this page [] , found via a google search for "uv at altitude").

Re:Depends where you live (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12984049)

This is very true , I live in Australia and work outside.
I have a dark tan and I ALWAYS wear a hat or use sunscrean, however this last year I had a cancer removed from my face (just a small dot).
I am only 29 , many older men I know who had never used any protection have pockmarked arms from cancer reemovals.

The sun here can have quite a bite , a co-worker of mine is black and due to his higher levels of melanin rarely uses sunscrean, but last summer I turned around and noticed water blisters forming on his shoulders. No I am not making this up.

If you are out in it every day remember Slip Slop Slap.

Thats nice, but ... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12983882)

Could this open some eyes and increase interest in alternative (shade, clothes) offerings?

It's been said before (4, Informative)

alanxyzzy (666696) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983883) []

Friday, 21 November, 2003, 10:27 GMT

Sun 'protects against cancer'

Staying out of the sun completely may increase your chances of developing cancer, say doctors.

For years, experts have advised people to cover up in the sun to protect themselves from skin cancer.

But a letter in this week's British Medical Journal warns people against taking this advice to the extreme.

And Professor Cedric Garland's letter of November 2003 in the British Medical Journal: 25/1228-a []

alternate vitamin D sources (4, Informative)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983888)

Actually, if you're thinking of getting some vitamin D by lying without sunscreen on the beach near the sea, you'de probably be much better of eating seafood ! Many fishes contain vitamin D, sardines, mackerels, salmon... + you don't get skin cancer.

Re:alternate vitamin D sources (1)

deragon (112986) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983923)

As far as I know, if you eat a balance diet, any balance diet, you get all the vitamin D you need. They dope milk with Vitamin D, so I wonder why I would have to go under the sun to get more vitamin D than the share I need...

Re:alternate vitamin D sources (4, Informative)

rsagris (831741) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983939)

The article I read said that dietary supplement Vitamin D is not the kind that is absorbed by the body very well. And that sun exposure produced Vitamin D is produced in ridiculous quantities by the skin when compared to dietary ingenstion (for even natural Vitamin D foods like the grandparent listed) The Doctor was saying that even taking into account a proper diet, you still were not properly reaching what a healthy level of sun exposure would natural have circulating through the body.

Re:alternate vitamin D sources (1)

ratnerstar (609443) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983926)

So you'll be pale white and your breath will smell of fish. It's an evolutionary wash: you may live for a long time, but your chances of procreating will surely diminish.

Re:alternate vitamin D sources (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983928)

but your chances of procreating will surely diminish. Reminder: this is /.

Re:alternate vitamin D sources (2, Informative)

Keetorca (831479) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983962)

And then you're in trouble with cancer again because of all the seafood thats
tainted with heavy metals and chemicals they pick up... 7/17mercury.htm []

this article has an entire chart on levels of metals in different types of fish h []

Mercury poisioning? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12983983)

Don't fish have mercury? :P Besides, I hear synthetic vitamin D is better. n2858 []

Re:alternate vitamin D sources (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 9 years ago | (#12984046)

In Soviet Florida [] , the seafood eats you!

Skin Cancer Kills (5, Informative)

NerdENerd (660369) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983893)

I live in Queensland, Australia. Thousands of people a years die from skin cancer, in fact we have the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. Only stupid people go out in the sun exposed here. Most people in their 50s or older who spenmt their childhood in the sun before the skin cancer campains of the 70s have had skin cancers cut out.

Re:Skin Cancer Kills (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983946)

Thousands of people a years die from skin cancer

Tell me about it. Here in Melbourne (not tropical but closer to the ozone hole) my brother is currently having nine malignant melanomas surgically removed from his scalp. There is not a lot of skin to go around on the head so this is a painful, slow process.

My wife is Malaysian chinese, so our son should cope better with UV than me. I think this is the only way forward for Australia. I had my share of bad sunburn when I was young. Our skin just isn't designed for this climate.

Re:Skin Cancer Kills (1)

Asphixiat (451920) | more than 9 years ago | (#12984038)

Also in Melb, and my dad's skin cancer has spread, first into his lymph nodes, and now into his spine, and yup - he's going to die :(

Skin cancer is very real down under

Re:Skin Cancer Kills (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12983953)

whoa there. you're talking about a heck of a lot of people there. Spending time outdoors is in our culture and you can see it from all the people enjoying the great outdoors from the sunshine coast to the gold coast and all the way up to cairns. Be carful of who you lay the smack on, your neighbour is likely one of them.

Re:Skin Cancer Kills (1)

NerdENerd (660369) | more than 9 years ago | (#12984003)

I am not saying anything about spending time outdoors, just stupid people who spend all day in the Queensland sun completely exposed.

You *should* wear sunscreen... (4, Informative)

Beolach (518512) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983894)

But put it on after you've been out in the sun for a few minutes, rather than before going out into the sun. Your body needs very little time exposed to UV-B light to produce sufficient amounts of Vitamin D. Far less time than it takes to get a tan (or in my case, a burn. I couldn't tan, even if I wanted to).

Re:You *should* wear sunscreen... (2, Informative)

swissfondue (819240) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983927)

Many suncreams state that they should be applied 1 hour before going into the sun, in order to get maximum protection.

Re:You *should* wear sunscreen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12983940)

Also most sunscreens have limited protection anyway.

Re:You *should* wear sunscreen... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12984014)

Totally agree.

Being Vegan, I have researched what is needed to maintain a healthy, energetic lifestyle. One of the facts I found was that you need at least 15 minutes of sun exposure every day (doesn't litterally have to be every day - could be 30 mins on one day none the next).

Not in Australia (5, Insightful)

Skippy_kangaroo (850507) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983895)

From the article: So the thinking is this: Even if too much sun leads to skin cancer, which is rarely deadly, too little sun may be worse. ,p>I take issue with the statement that skin cancer is rarely deadly. Maybe all you pasty faced pommies and septics don't get enough sun to kill you but in Australia the sun can and does kill a lot of people every year [] .

From personal experience I can also add that the sun in the Northern Hemisphere never seemed as hot or burning as the sun in Australia. I could walk around in the summer sun in Boston and barely get even a touch of colour. In Australia I would be burnt in less than an hour - probably quicker. Sun screen is very important in Australia as is a hat and a shirt.

And finally, this article demonstrates the quest of reporters to beat up each marginal scientific discovery into something that it isn't just to get a good headline. With medical news this invariably creates all sorts of problems. The study found that Vitamin D can be beneficial for treating cancers but said absolutely nothing about the delivery mechanism. Getting your Vitamin D directly from the sun also means you get wonderful melanomas via UVA and UVB radiation. Sure, Vitamin D on its own is fine but the side effects of getting it directly from the sun are pretty severe.

Nah, that is not a sun burn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12983925)

For the last 4 years, We have taken to exporting our waste radiation down under. It was either that or store it in West Texas, and that was not going to happen. You are simply getting hard radiation.

Re:Not in Australia (1)

k-sound (718684) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983993)

The study found that Vitamin D can be beneficial for treating cancers but said absolutely nothing about the delivery mechanism. Getting your Vitamin D directly from the sun also means you get wonderful melanomas via UVA and UVB radiation.

Yes it does, melanomas are mentioned 2 times on the 3 page maybe you should RTFA first.

Re:Not in Australia (1)

Skippy_kangaroo (850507) | more than 9 years ago | (#12984029)

The studies that are being reported on have not made any comparison of the two effects. They have examined the independent effect of Vitamin D. The offsetting costs of getting your Vitamin D through the sun are opined about by Dr. Giovannucci but there are no studies on that balance. Thus, I stand by the statement that the study (or studies) don't say anything. The article does.

Re:Not in Australia (2, Informative)

notany (528696) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983994)

Actually this discovery is quite important. Even some professionals are impressed [1]. It seems that lack of vitamin D causes lot's of problems in northen countries.

Here in Finland we get very little sun in winter. Leder of National Institue of Health in Finland said last winter that it would be cheaper to pay one week middle winter vacation in Spain for all finns than pay for the treatment of disases that come from lack of vitamin D. That is big amount of money.

[1] from the article:

.. The talk so impressed the American Cancer Society's chief epidemiologist, Dr. Michael Thun, that the society is reviewing its sun protection guidelines. "There is now intriguing evidence that vitamin D may have a role in the prevention as well as treatment of certain cancers," Thun said. Even some dermatologists may be coming around. "I find the evidence to be mounting and increasingly compelling," said Dr. Allan Halpern, dermatology chief at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, who advises several cancer groups.

Fundamentally flawed (1, Insightful)

swissfondue (819240) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983900)

The article seems fundamentally flawed. Extract 1: "If it bears out, it will challenge one of medicine's most fundamental beliefs: that people need to coat themselves with sunscreen whenever they're in the sun." I seriously doubt that statement is widely substantiated by research. Any high school student should know that Vitamin D is good and is produced by your own body when exposed to sunlight. Suncream is used to protect the skin to exposure from too much of the "damaging" rays. Extract 2:" The vitamin is D(...).Sunscreen blocks its production..." Total sunblock which filters out all rays, would block Vitamin D production. But you'd need to apply that thickly to all exposed skin; something that in practise is very rare. Most people apply a thin layer to the most exposed skin and don't do this regularly. So they have enough Vitamin D production. One only needs 10 minutes exposure to sunlight per day to ensure suffiicient vitamin D production. So the whole article "boils" down to "hey, Vitamin D production through sunlight is necessary, unless you want to live on vitamin supplements". Big deal.

In other news... (5, Funny)

de Bois-Guilbert (807304) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983907)

...leading scientist say that while drinking four to five glasses of water a day is quite healthy, walking around with the garden hose duct-taped to your mouth may cause serious harm.

Good For Depression Too (2, Interesting)

mikeplokta (223052) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983914)

There's also the psychological factor. Depression is common, and often fatal (not necessarily through suicide, but through self-neglect). Skin cancer is less common, and usually treatable. And sunbathing is good for depression, so might well save more lives than it costs on that basis, too.

Two Lessons (5, Funny)

CleverNickedName (644160) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983918)

If science has taught us anything it's that:
1) Everything in moderation.
2) Research causes cancer in lab-rats.

Whats the current score? (5, Funny)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983921)

Ok im a little behind this year so correct me:

Cell Phones: not dangerous
Salmon: ok
Sudan-1: bad
Power lines: definately bad
Condoms: dont have holes
Beef: depends on country
Sunscreen: bad?
Lead piping: ok now?
GM food: border-line
Torture: 'acceptable in some situations'
Violent video games: leads to violent people
Flares: out
Mullets: out
Ironic Mullets: in but slipping

Drink milk. (1, Informative)

Radak (126696) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983932)

Most milk is vitamin D fortified, and you can easily get the vitamin D your body needs by drinking a couple of glasses of milk every day, in between liters of Mountain Dew. And it's good for you in other ways anyway.

Re:Drink milk. (1)

Punboy (737239) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983977)

But lets not forget that too much calcium intake can cause brittle bones and strange calcium deposits in places you dont want them.

Re:Drink milk. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12984017)

That along with the fact that milk plain sucks []

Re:Drink milk. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12984048)

You also have to remember that milk is packed with anti-biotics, traces of gm from the feed (supposedly), fat, and is by and large a very odd thing to drink.

Think about it, we drink the milk of a cow, which is for cows not humans.

Also, many people are lactose intollerant.

Sun-Care Chemical Proves Toxic in Lab Tests (3, Interesting)

usurper_ii (306966) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983935)

And not only does the extra vitamin D help prevent cancer, but just not putting a chemical-laden substance on your body also helps prevent cancer. While I'm sure there are some safe, quality sun screens you can get at the health food store, most of what people are pouring all over them and their kids contain harsh chemicals: []

The main chemical used in sun lotions to filter out ultraviolet light may be TOXIC, particularly when exposed to sunshine.

Octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC), which is present in 90 per cent of sunscreen brands, was found to kill mouse cells even at low doses in a study by Norwegian scientists.

It is not certain that the effects on mice are repeated in human beings, although the findings reported in New Scientist magazine suggest that human cells could be damaged if a sunscreen containing OMC penetrates the outer layer of dead skin and comes into contact with living tissue.

Terje Christensen, a biophysicist from the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority, near Oslo, said her research showed that sunscreens should be treated with caution, and used only when it was impractical to stay indoors or to shield the skin from the sun with clothes.

The chemical is used as a filter for the more harmful UVB light. In Dr Christensen's study, mouse tissue grown in culture was treated with a solution of OMC at five parts per million - a much lower concentration than in sunscreens. Half the cells treated with OMC died, compared with fewer than 10 per cent in a control experiment.

When researchers shone a lamp for two hours to simulate midday sunshine, more cells died. Dr Christensen suggested that the reaction between OMC and sunlight created an effect that was twice as toxic as the chemical alone.

The Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association, which represents sunscreen manufacturers in Britain, said that OMC "has been thoroughly tested for safety" and was approved by regulatory authorities in Europe and the US.

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

We ALL need sunshine to stay healthy. It is one of the essential ingredients for staying healthy. It is not the perniciously evil item that traditional medicine suggests that it is.

That does not mean that we should all go out and get sunburned. That should be avoided as it is likely to lead to an increase in skin cancer. However, prudent exposure to the sun, integrating the listening to your body concept, will not.

Adding sun screens is NOT a good way to limit your sun exposure. Staying out of the sun early on in the season and limiting your exposure until your system adjusts by increasing melanin pigmentation in your skin is.

Additionally, consuming many whole vegetables will increase antioxidant levels in the body which will also provide protection against any sun induced radiation damage.

So the bottom line is to avoid the sun screens. They are not necessary and will actually increase your risk of disease.

Related Articles:

Absorbing Titanium from Sunscreens

Sunscreens Don't Prevent Melanoma

Re: Lancet nails the real cause of cancer (4, Informative)

usurper_ii (306966) | more than 9 years ago | (#12984007)

"In many [western] countries, peoples' diet changed substantially in the second half of the twentieth century, generally with increases in consumption of meat, dairy products, vegetable oils, fruit juice, and alcoholic beverages, and decreases in consumption of starchy staple foods such as bread, potatoes, rice, and maize flour. Other aspects of lifestyle also changed, notably, large reductions in physical activity and large increases in the prevalence of obesity."[18]

"It was noted in the 1970s that people in many western countries had diets high in animal products, fat, and sugar, and high rates of cancers of the colorectum, breast, prostate, endometrium, and lung; by contrast, individuals in developing countries usually had diets that were based on one or two starchy staple foods, with low intakes of animal products, fat, and sugar, and low rates of these cancers."[18]

"These observations suggest that the diets [or lifestyle] of different populations might partly determine their rates of cancer, and the basis for this hypothesis was strengthened by results of studies showing that people who migrate from one country to another generally acquire the cancer rates of the new host country, suggesting that environmental [or lifestyle factors] rather than genetic factors are the key determinants of the international variation in cancer rates."[18]

See also:

Scientists estimate that most cancers are associated with factors related to how we live, called lifestyle factors. Evidence reviewed by the American Cancer Society suggests that about one-third of the 550,000 cancer deaths that occur in the United States each year is due to dietary factors (for example, excess calories, high fat, and low fibre). Another third is due to cigarette smoking. Other lifestyle factors which increase the risk for cancer include drinking heavily, lack of regular physical exercise, promiscuous sexual behavior,

Another guy sacked for his opinion (2, Informative)

swissfondue (819240) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983960)

"The head of Holick's department, Dr. Barbara Gilchrest, called his book an embarrassment and stripped him of his dermatology professorship, although he kept his other posts. " also see:Hanff []

Re:Another guy sacked for his opinion (2, Informative)

Tucan (60206) | more than 9 years ago | (#12984030)

Holick's primary appointment is in Endocrinology. Gilchrist "sptripped him" of a largely symbollic secondary appointment in Dermatology. This gave Holick publicity and made her look like a git.

RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12983964)

"Many people aren't getting enough vitamin D. It's hard to do from food and fortified milk alone, and supplements are problematic."

of course it's not good for me (2, Informative)

r2tincan (893666) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983966)

It clogs my pores.

Give credit where it's due! (0, Flamebait)

RandomGuySteve (889617) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983974)

As much as I like Vonnegut, it was Mary Schmich who wrote the words to "Everybody's Free (to Wear Sunscreen)." As it says in the link posted.

To get it right, the poster had to read his own link, which he had to take the time to find.

Sometimes I think about not reading Slashdot any more. It really has gotten terribly lazy

Hardly Supprising (1)

squoozer (730327) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983982)

I hardly think that natural selection would have picked a human that can't tolerate any sun. It is only in the last few hundred years that we have realistically had the ability to either stay out of the sun or totally protect ourselves.

Having said that we are a some what freakish animal. The lack of substantial bodily hair / fur and our tendency to walk around in the sun marks us out as somewhat unique. Most other animals that have little or no hair / fur live away from the sun. Perhaps UV resistance is rare and badly developed in the animal world. As most animals with a good thick coat wouldn't have much call for it and so it wouldn't develop.

Re:Hardly Suprising - Not for the reason you think (2, Insightful)

Ada_Rules (260218) | more than 9 years ago | (#12984004)

Natural selection is very very poor at selecting for attributes that only become important after peak reproductive years. Sure there is the "wisdom of the elders" effect and a few people the reproduce (mostly males) in the later years but given that the vast majority of people die from skin cancer after they would have reproduced and given the historical lifecycle/reproductive cycle of humans it is not really all that surprising of an outcome.

It burns! It burns! (2, Funny)

EvilMonkeySlayer (826044) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983987)

But the light, oh god it burns! It burns!

They made me do it (3, Funny)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 9 years ago | (#12984005)

I live in the UK, you insensitive clod.

The dose makes the poison (2, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 9 years ago | (#12984040)

Too much of anything is bad for you. Too much water will kill you (it upsets your body's fluid balance)
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