Sun exposure could stave off some cancers

By admin
05 August 2014

Being exposed to the sun could reduce the risks of developing certain cancers by up to 50 per cent experts have claimed.

Professor Rachel Neale has previously carried out studies which found that people who had lived in areas with higher levels of UV rays had a 30 to 40 per cent lower chance of pancreatic cancer than those who had lived in areas with lower ambient UV rays. Professor Neale, who works at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Australia, believes it's important for people to have some exposure to the sun's rays, despite the many warnings of the damage that can be caused by them.

'Even if it's only for two-three minutes each day, it will be enough to get that source of vitamin D'

She believes it is particularly essential for people who do not have enough time to go outside to try and find a way to incorporate it into their daily routine.

Not enough sunlight may cause children to developing rickets, which is a bone disease that affects infants and youths, and osteomalacia or soft bones in adults.

"Even if it's only for two-three minutes each day, it will be enough to get that source of vitamin D," Professor Neale said. "Exposing more skin in a short period of time is better than less skin in the long run. Go outside and lift your shirt or pants up – show your tummy and legs."

The professor is currently recruiting 25,000 Australians over 60 to participate in a study to examine if vitamin D can reduce the risks of ovarian, oesophageal and pancreatic cancers.

She will have two groups of people who will take vitamin D tablet or a placebo tablet on the first day of each month for up to five years and they will not know which tablet they are taking during the study. It will observe whether taking a vitamin D tablet changes the risk of a person being diagnosed with health conditions such as cancer, heart disease or infections.

Professor Neale's previous studies revealed hundreds of participants linked high UV exposure to a 30 per cent reduced risk of ovarian cancer and a 40 per cent reduced risk of oesophageal cancers.

"We certainly are not hand on heart saying this is definitely true, in these types of epidemiological studies we are always very cautious about saying something is casual, but we do see an association between UV exposure and some cancers," she said.

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