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Skin cancer

Tanning found to protect against melanoma by releasing tumor suppressor protein

Tuesday, May 01, 2007 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: skin cancer, medical myths, melanoma

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There may be a relationship between the process that causes the body to tan and its defenses against skin cancer, according to a study conducted by scientists from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and published in "Cell." Tanning has actually been found to prevent cancer tumors.

Jump directly to: conventional view | alternative view | resources | bottom line

What you need to know - Conventional View

• Researchers found that when skin is exposed to sunlight, the body releases a protein called p53, a well-known tumor suppressor.

• A previous study by the same scientists found that when ultraviolet solar radiation strikes the skin, it also triggers the breakdown of the protein POMC, which in turn triggers the release of a hormone that produces melanin and causes the skin to darken (tan).

• When p53 was injected into skin cells, POMC production increased drastically.

• This may also explain the development of age spots, which are usually triggered by stress, because the body also produces p53 as a response to stress-induced DNA damage.

• The scientists also found evidence that p53 may trigger the release of endorphins, which are associated with feelings of pleasure. This may explain the phenomenon of sunshine addiction.

• Quote: "The number one risk factor for melanoma is an inability to tan." - Senior Author David E. Fisher

What you need to know - Alternative View

Statements and opinions by Mike Adams, author of The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D

• The idea that sunlight exposure causes skin cancer is a persistent medical myth. What we now know is that ultraviolet radiation only promotes sunburns and DNA damage when a person is chronically deficient in antioxidant nutrition. Building up a tan and boosting your intake of antioxidants from berries and superfoods is the best way to prevent sunburn and skin cancer.

• The skin cancer industry is largely bankrolled by sunscreen manufacturers who hope to de-educate people about the healing power of sunlight and scare consumers into buying more sunscreen.

• Most sunscreen products contain cancer-causing chemicals and petroleum derivatives. Using sunscreen has actually been found to increase the risk of skin cancer.

Resources you need to know

&bull The UV Advantage (Dr. Michael Holick) http://www.uvadvantage.org/home.htm

Bottom line

• A protein that protects the body against tumors may also trigger its tanning response to sunlight.

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