There are no simple answers when it comes to preventing cancer. Despite years of research and a seemingly bottomless pit of funding of money, we still know very little about the causes of cancer. I thought today’s post was going to be a relatively simple one… I thought.
It was a beautiful sunny day today. It seemed a good time to talk about the risk of melanoma… the cancer that took my father from me. Since his diagnosis I have become a fanatic about sunscreen. I, and my children, wear it all summer. We wear wide brimmed hats and cover up as much as possible, but I rely on sunscreen as that last important piece of protection.
I was going to spend a few moments promoting the use of sunscreen. That was before I did some more research. It appears there may actually be evidence the use of sunscreen may actually be linked the increased risk of skin cancer. It seems we can’t win.
The evidence isn’t conclusive but it seems to suggest that sunscreen does nothing to prevent melanoma and the false sense of security it gives people may lead them to spend more time in the sun, therefore increasing their risk. It also blocks the absorption of Vitamin D, a key element in fighting cancer and contains a number of harmful chemicals.
I wish I had easy answers. I do know this year I will be torn as I put sunscreen on the kids and I will be more cautious about the brands I choose (this is a great website that tests the chemical content of hundreds of brands and give recommendations) but I won’t avoid it completely. I have gone back to using Vitamin D supplements. By the way, that was the first piece of advice from my PhD Nutritionist cousin when I asked her for resources for this project. I highly recommend it. I plan to look into finding supplements for the kids too.
I wish this post had more answers… I had planned to recommend sunscreen and vitamin D quickly and then run off to an evening of totally frivolous TV watching… but no thoughts of cancer. At this point I’ve written right through the red carpet and must now rush off to see the stars in all their glory… it’s Oscar night!