Can you really reduce the risk of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers with the help of sunbeds?
It sounds like an idea invented by the indoor tanning industry but is in reality a conclusion possible to draw after a couple of recent studies about sun-exposure and melanoma/non-melanoma skin cancers
In a report, “Occupational sun exposure and risk of melanoma according to anatomical site”, published online in the International Journal of Cancer on 29 NOV 2013, a research team from New South Wales in Australia makes the following conclusions:
- Although sunburn and intermittent sun exposures are associated with increased melanoma risk, most studies have found null or inverse associations between occupational (more continuous pattern) sun exposure and melanoma risk.
- Occupational sun exposure was not positively associated with melanoma risk overall or at different body sites in both studies.
- Our results suggest that occupational sun exposure does not increase risk of melanoma, even of melanomas situated on the head and neck.
The study is actually a so called meta study of two population-based case-control studies involving in total 4320 people.
The indoor tanning habits were not investigated among the people in the surveys, but rather their habits of exposure to the natural sun.
Since the human body's reaction to ultraviolet light doesn’t differ depending on the source, it is possible to draw the conclusion that regular use of indoor tanning will give the same melanoma-preventive effect as “occupational sun exposure” apparently does.
For many of us, living far away from the equator, sunbeds are the only way to reduce the risk of skin cancer by regular exposure to UV-light.
Other reports which support the fact that regular UV-exposure reduces the risk of melanoma.
The study referred to above is not the first (and will probably not be the last) which confirms that regular exposure to ultraviolet light decrease the risk of skin cancer.
In April 2013, the international research team from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, states in their report: “Occupational Exposure to Ultraviolet Radiation and Risk of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer in a Multinational European Study” (get it here from the Vitamin D Wiki), that …
“The study results do not provide support for an increased risk of NMSC in association with workplace exposure to natural or artificial UV radiation.”
Note that this report refers to the diagnoses of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers (NMSC), often (but wrongly) blamed mainly on exposure to sunlight and sunbeds.
It also includes the exposure from sunbeds, which apparently does not increase the risk neither of melanoma or of non-melanoma skin cancers.
The sun and its rays are after all the source of all life on earth. Common sense should have told us that there must be something wrong when mortal cancers are blamed on any exposure to sunlight.
Now the studies mentioned above, which are done by independent (that is not paid by producers of sunscreen cosmetics or skin cancer medicine) researchers confirm the insanity to blame the steadily increasing diagnoses of skin cancer on the exposure to UV-light.
Why was then Sunlight classified by IARC as a carcinogen in the most dangerous group?
It is a good question and even more so since IARC writes like this about melanoma on page 115 in their Monograph 55 from 1992:
“(v) Occupational exposure
Regular outdoor occupatioпal exposure is probably the most сопvепiепt measure of relatively coпstaпt suп exposure апd has Ьееп assessed with differiпg degrees of detail, from simple questioпs оп ever/пever or а basic amouпt of outdoor exposure, to detailed assessmeпts iпvolviпg assessmeпts of clothiпg habits, geographical locatioп of work апd suп. The results appear to Ье iпcoпsisteпt (ТаЬlе 20). The more detailed studies, however, show more coпsisteпcy with а significant negative associatioп, particularly in men, who coпstitute most of the highly exposed subjects (ТаЬlе 21).”
It seems however, judging from their other overall argumentation in the Monograph 55, that the members of IARC were more impressed by the few studies which showed an increased risk from regular sun exposure than the many studies which showed no or reduced risk.
Could it be a coincident that the studies which showed the largest increase in the melanoma risk were authored by researchers (Green, Rigel and Weinstock) on the payroll of the world’s largest manufacturer of sun-protection cosmetics, L’Oréal?
Don't you think it is time to stop believing in the fanatic and unconditional anti-tanning propaganda funded by the sunscreen-producers and conducted by their mercenary researchers and statisticians?
It doesn’t mean that the more exposure to sunlight and sunbeds, the better it is for our health. The dose dependence must still (or, rather, again) be a part of the UV-exposure calculation.
If done correctly, use of sunbeds can reduce the risk of skin cancer as well as of most other cancers and serious illnesses.
Regular (2-3 times a week), short and non-burning, sessions of UV-light exposure, is my recommendation for the optimal health effects (from vitamin D, nitric oxide and probably hundreds of other, not yet identified, processes in our bodies) and minimal risk of any negative effects.
This post describes in detail how you can use a tanning bed for vitamin D tanning.
And here is a directory of vitamin D tanning salons worldwide.