Friday, 19 June 2009

"Skin cancer has quadrupled since the 1970s"

That was the first item I saw on BBC News when I switched on my television this morning, and it set me thinking.

If the experts are to be believed, this is caused by spending too much time in the sun, or on sunbeds, without the protection of sunscreen.

According to scientists, humans have lived on earth for at least 276,000 years. For most of that period clothing was scant, limited to animal skins slung around the body at best, and solid housing was non-existant.

In the 1940s the first effective sunscreen was invented. However, sunscreens were not widely recommended - except for advertising - until the late 1960s. And most sunscreens block the UVB rays that promote Vitamin D3, but not the melanoma-causing UVA rays.

Stephan wrote a very instructive blog about this last year.

My parents' generation - born almost a century ago - spent many hours out of doors thoughout their lives, without sunscreen. They swam in the sea and lakes, walked in the countryside for miles, gardened [my dad was a professional gardener/groundsman], played tennis and cricket for hours on end, all without sunscreen. I don't know of a single one of their relatives/friends/acquaintances who developed skin cancer.

The sun is no hotter now, so what has changed since the 1970s?

Take food consumption:

  • Animal fats down dramatically
  • Lean poultry up
  • Fatty beef down
  • Full-cream milk down by about 75%
  • Butter down by more than 50%
  • Polyunsaturated vegetable oils more than doubled
  • Sugars almost doubled
  • Grain up by more than 50%
And all the time we have got fatter and sicker. We have more heart disease, more diabetes, more allergies, and more cancers.

Are we eating ourselves to death?


      1. Yes, we are!! It's the lack of Vitamin D that contributes to so many cancers, causes bones to become brittle etc. While it is not advisable to roast in the sun it is very necessary to get enough exposure for VitD build-up. How much is enough? Well - just make sure you take it easy at the beginning of the summer - your skin should be sunburnt, as this may indeed cause cancer in the long run. Take it nice and easy and as you tan you can take longer exposure. And DO take VitD supplementation during the winter if you can't afford to hibernate in Southern Climes

      2. Thanks for your comment, brainpower. However, I think you meant "your skin should NOT be sunburnt ..."

        I have read that just ten minutes in unobscured sun, at midday, is sufficient. We have been doing this on unclouded days, and not burned. H

        owever, on the one day when there was very thin cloud, that ten minutes was more than enough, and we all felt we had burned slightly, so be warned.

      3. 'course I meant "should not be burnt"...Tx for correcting my typing error. Got carried away by my own enthusiasm about the subject. I burn easily and readily (red hair, white skin) but have not suffered at all this year. It is true, that the sun is making itself scarce at the moment. Probably can't find his hat...


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