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Should I Avoid Sun Exposure to Prevent Deadly Skin Cancers?

No.  This is a common misconception.   There are basically two types of skin cancer, melanoma, and non-melanoma.  Melanoma is the more serious kind.  But you’re less likely to develop melanoma if you receive adequate sun exposure.  Michael Holick, professor of medicine at Boston University Medical Center and a pioneer in vitamin D research, recently observed that “you have about a 30-50 percent decreased risk of developing colon, prostate, and breast cancer if you maintain adequate vitamin D levels throughout your life.


A large multinational study concluded that  “Vitamin D production in the skin seems to decrease the risk of several solid cancers (especially stomach, colorectal, liver and gallbladder, pancreas, lung, female breast, prostate, bladder and kidney cancers).”  The key to healthy sun exposure is to be out when the sun is at least “30 degrees above the horizon or whenever the temperature is warm enough to expose large amounts of skin.”


Terry Pfau DO, HMD


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