Many experts agree to the fact that sun exposure has both good and bad effects on our health. As Dr. Paul Donohue, a health care expert and a health columnist at Herald Tribune explains, sun exposure is vital for our skin since it is the best way to stimulate vitamin D production and support our skin health. It usually takes quite a short period of time (from 8 to 15 minutes) for our body to produce sufficient amounts of this vitamin, so there is no need to stay under sun for a long period of time. Tanned, firm and healthy looking skin is the most important positive side of brief sun exposure for most of us. At the same time, there are the drawbacks which include negative changes in the body caused by UV B rays, and regular prolonged sun exposure can cause serious changes in our DNA and highly elevated cancer risk.
However, according to the findings of a recent study, sun exposure can actually prevent some types of degenerative processes in body cells and bring to decreased risk for pancreatic cancer. According to the report about the study of an expert team at Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Queensland, Australia, using ultraviolet radiation of moderate levels is linked to decreased pancreatic cancer risks, especially in those people who have sun-sensitive skin, or those who have genetic predisposition to skin cancer. These findings were presented in June 201i2 at the conference Pancreatic Cancer: Progress and Challenges , by the American Association for Cancer Research held in Nevada, the US.
The scientists from Queensland invited two groups of people, both slightly outnumbering 700 participants, matching in sex and age. Specialists collected extensive information about all socio-demographic factors and current health condition of all participants by interviewing them and looking at their medical records. Such issues as birthplace, skin type and skin condition, skin cancer and other skin diseases in family, tanning ability, and the common type of sun exposure for every person were primarily analyzed. Then, by using special tools like Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer the researchers managed to measure the intensity and degree of ultraviolet radiation in the mentioned locations where the participants were coming from. Those locations were divided into several groups according to this important criterion.
It turned out that those participants who were coming from the regions with the highest UV radiation levels actually had 24 per cent lower pancreatic cancer risk compared to the participants born in the regions with low UV radiation levels. Furthermore, taking into account the fact that people with all skin types are at risk for pancreatic cancer, those with very sensitive skin can benefits from up to 49 per cent lower pancreatic cancer risks compared to the people with other skin types. Finally, to a great surprise of the scientists, it turned out that those participants who had increased skin cancer risks or had sun-related skin lesions have demonstrated 40 per cant lower incidence of pancreatic cancer compared to the people without the mentioned skin problems.
“There is increasing interest in the role of sun exposure, which has been largely attributed to the effect of vitamin D, on cancer incidence and mortality,” said Rachel Neale, Ph.D., a study leader and a researcher at Queensland Institute of Medical Research. She underlined the importance of further studies in order to establish closer and clearer links between sun exposure and pancreatic cancer risks, as well as about the connections between vitamin D and pancreatic cancer. Also, she is convinced that it is necessary to inform people about all the risks and benefits of sun exposure, in order to prevent possible side effects and serious health conditions cause be prolonged UV radiation exposure.
Find more information about this study and other newest scientific developments in the official website of American Association For Cancer Research.
Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.