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Skin cancer: Prevention

It is well known that too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a major cause of skin cancer.


There has been some debate regarding the use of sunscreen and it's harmful effects. The Environmental Working Group, who dedicate their time to collecting government data and scientific studies and performing their own laboratory tests, have put together a quick guide for choosing the right sunscreen for you and your family.


  • Avoid products containing oxybenzone and retinyl palminate

  • Use a sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15 and a maximum of SPF 50

  • Make sure labels list UVA and UVB (or broad spectrum protection)

  • Choose lotions versus spray sunscreens for a more evenly distributed protection


The best way to reduce the risk of developing skin cancer is:


  • Wear protective clothing

  • Apply 30+ sunscreen every 2 hours

  • Wear a hat

  • Find shade

  • Wear sunglasses

  • Plan the days activities outside of peak UV times

  • Don't use solariums and sunbeds. They can emit UV rays up to 5 times as strong as the summer midday sun


Getting Vitamin D naturally


Although we want to prevent skin cancers we need to ensure our bodies are getting enough Vitamin D. The following health conditions have been found to be reduced with the increase of vitamin D intake.


  • Flu

  • Muscle weakness

  • Psoriasis

  • Chronic kidney disease

  • Diabetes

  • Asthma

  • Periodontal disease

  • Cadiovascular disease

  • Schizophrenia & depression

  • Cancer


On the Gold Coast it is recommended that light skinned people get about 10 minutes of sunshine a day on their arms and legs 3 times a week, outside of peak UV times and without sunscreen. This will usually produce enough vitamin D to keep them from being deficient.

Darker skinned people will need up to 6 times more exposure to UV rays to produce as much vitamin D as someone with fair skin.


Eat fish such as tuna, salmon and mackerel. Egg yolks, cheese and beef liver are also sources of vitamin D.


As a supplement vitiamin D, and more specificially vitamin D3, is easily absorbed by the body. If you are taking any medications check with your medical practitioner before taking supplements as there are some medications that can interact with vitiamin D. Some of these medication are:


  • hiazide diuretics

  • calcium-channel blockers

  • anti-seizure medications

  • corticosteroids

  • Xenical (orlistat)

  • Cholesterol lowering medications that interfere with fat metabolism

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