Thursday, February 01, 2007

Coming into Balance with the Sun

For the past two decades, ever since my first skin cancer diagnosis, I’ve looked at the sun as my enemy. I’ve regretted all those hours spent on Florida beaches in skimpy bathing suits frying my skin in cocoa butter. Mea culpa, for goodness sake.

So I was most surprised when my husband pointed out an article in yesterday’s Examiner which revisited the effect of the sun. Excerpting,

A new study suggests that the main cause of deadly skin cancer – sunlight – might also help protect against the disease. The key could lie in the amount of ultraviolet B light the skin absorbs – enough to stimulate a healthy immune response in the skin but not so much that it boosts skin cancer risk. In 2006, a prominent cancer epidemiologist published a controversial study that found that melanoma patients with higher levels of daily sun exposure actually had better survival than patients who spent less time in the sun.

Go figure! Maybe it’s like homeopathy, which uses the thing to which you are allergic to protect you.

With this information, I may once again embrace the sun, remembering how good the light and heat can make you feel. Never again will I allow my skin to turn red and burn. But instead I will seek a balance that diminishes the fear I have come to associate with this most important lifesource.

Balance is the answer to so many of life’s issues, isn’t it?


Blogger Kristin said...

Balance is a very good thing. I'm glad we no longer have to run and hide from the sun.

5:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, it is! And I used to be a sun worshipper oil and all. I had 1 mole removed on my leg to prevent it going further and am going for my annual mole/skin check next week.

5:37 PM  
Anonymous said...

Damn woman! You are a freakin walking miracle. Tell God just to stop it now. You've had enough!

6:32 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

Sunlight produces vitamin D in the body - mega doses of it actually. Vitamin D is shown to significantly reduce cancer risk.

Frying yourself in the sun is foolish. However, I do not believe sun exposure is the evil it is made out to be - it is abuse of sun exposure.

I also suspect that the protection we are advised to use to shield ourselves against the harmful effects of sunlight are actually deadlier than the sunlight (of course, I have no scientific evidence to back it up, simply the drawing together of various bits of information that as a whole concern me. The post was here.

6:59 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

I should probably add that the D3 version is what our bodies synthesize in the presence of sunlight - not the D2 version (which is not considered effective in preventing cancer).

8:58 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- I'm still processing this new concept, but I think it makes sense.

Anon -- I am totally vigilant. I see 2 different specialists for a total of 4 times a year.

Fraize... -- There's nothing miraculous about me. I've just been lucky to be able to deal with cancer by having it removed and never needing to have chemotherapy.

Richard -- You are so smart about so many things. I think I will read up on vitamin D. I'm also now wondering about sunscreens.

11:04 PM  

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