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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

September 12, 2005

second thoughts about sunscreen?

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 7:42 pm

You knew this was coming (Harvard Magazine, “Too Much Sunscreen?,”

by Craig Lambert, Sept-Oct. 2005):

[A]ccording to a new theory, sealing our skins off from the sun

may cause more cancer deaths than it prevents.


“Associate professor of medicine Edward Giovannucci notes

that UV-B radiation, the source of suntan and sunburn, is also

the component of sunlight that enables human skin . . .  to

synthesize the “sunshine vitamin” —D— used by every type

of cell in the human body. Animal research has associated a

lack of vitamin D with multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, and

pathological processes that underlie several forms of cancer,

including those of the colon, breast, prostate, and digestive tract,

such as stomach cancer. “If you look at these cancers as a group,”

says Giovannucci, who is also a professor of nutrition and epidemiology

at the Harvard School of Public Health, “you’ll see that 30 people die of

these cancers for every one who dies of skin cancer.” . . .


 d key    “Giovannucci acknowledges that the evidence for these theories is

still weak: there has not been a good double-blind controlled study, lasting

perhaps 20 years, that compares people getting sun exposure to a placebo

group. “But almost every other bit of evidence suggests that vitamin D is

beneficial,” he says. “More sun, and higher rates of vitamin D, correlate with

fewer cancers. It might ultimately prevent only a fraction, perhaps 30 percent,

of those cancers it seems to affect. But that would still be vastly more cases

than any skin cancers it causes. I don’t recommend that people go out and

get sunburned—use common sense. But if the studies hold up, vitamin D will

be a relatively important factor, since it affects such a large number of cancers.

It may be time to rethink the message we are sending about sunlight.”

Heads up, Evan and WalterThere’s gotta be a lawsuit here somewhere. 




The beetle I righted

flies straight into

a cobweb








now my heart is

too loud


         George Swede 

              from Almost Unseen


spider web small


as the spider

goes down the drain

a second thought


      Tom Clausen

       Upstate Dim Sum (2003/I)


Mom’s sunburnt back…

first the youngest touches it,

then the eldest


        Randy Brooks 

                from School’s Out




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