Radiation of The SUN as Cancer Triggers
According to the ACS, most skin cancers are caused by exposure to excessive ultraviolet radiation (UVR), primarily from the sun. UVR is a form of radiation that can penetrate and change skin cells. The depletion of the ozone layer has exacerbated the situation by allowing increased UVR to reach the earth’s surface. The most serious form of skin cancer is melanoma, which was expected to be diagnosed in about 76 250 people in 2012.
The extent to which we are exposed to sunlight is determined by our own choices. Those of us with sensitive skin may be more susceptible to UVR and skin cancer. It is up to us to protect ourselves from the sun. Similarly, those with a history of sunburn, compared to those who have never been sunburnt, are at a higher risk for melanoma. Those with moles must also be extra careful. The surface of a mole will change or there will be new growths if affected by melanoma. Moles must be checked regularly by a dermatologist or doctor so that any changes can be picked up immediately.
No matter your sensitivity or history, it is extremely important to protect yourself against the harmful effects of the sun’s rays throughout your lifespan.
Do not deliberately prolong your time in the sun, sit in the shade when possible, use sunscreen and wear protective hats and clothing. While vitamin D, known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, is very important for bone health, it is naturally available in foods and as a dietary supplement. The ACS argues that while vitamin D can be obtained through limited exposure to the sun, ‘safety is a concern when sunlight is used to meet vitamin D requirements because UV light exposure is so clearly linked to skin cancers and because the amount of sunlight exposure it takes to make enough vitamin D depends on many other environmental factors (i.e. latitude, season, etc.)’.
The ACS is even more emphatic when it comes to the use of indoor tanning devices that expose the skin to artificial UVR: ‘The International Agency for Research on Cancer listed UV-emitting indoor tanning devices as carcinogenic to humans; in its comprehensive review, the agency reported that indoor tanning has no positive effect on health, and found a 75 per cent increase in melanoma risk among those who used indoor tanning booths in their teens and 20s.’26 Because of their popularity, many assume that tanning beds and booths are safe, whereas in actual fact they can contribute to skin