For the purposes of this article, we discuss regular, non-burning exposure to sunlight--the type of sunlight that slowly produces a tan--and the type of sunlight exposure that can save your life. Never, ever burn yourself in the sunlight. See your medical professional before making any changes in your sunlight habits.
Is melanoma caused by regular sunlight exposure, or are we being defrauded?
The Melanoma International Foundation (MIF), is one the Powers of Darkness--organizations that would have us all become vitamin D deficient and ill by avoiding the healing sun.[i] They, like many other sun phobes, believe that sunlight should be shunned as a detriment to human healthand that “90% or more of melanoma is caused by ultraviolet radiation either from the sun or tanning salons."[ii] The MIF states that “Melanoma is epidemic: rising faster than any other cancer and projected to affect one person in 50 by 2010, currently it affects 1 in 75. In 1935, only one in 1,500 was struck by the disease.” In other words, they say there has been a 3,000% increase in melanoma since 1935. If true, then their statement that sunlight is the cause of melanoma flies in the face of reason. Consider the following:
1. If melanoma has indeed increased exponentially since 1935, and that increase is due to sunlight exposure, then sunlight exposure must also have shown a parallel or at least significant increase in that time. To determine whether that has happened, I analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, (BLS) to determine if there was an increase or decrease in human sunlight exposure during the years from 1910 to 2,000.[iii] I paid special attention to the changes since 1935, the year the MIF used as a baseline for measuring increases in melanoma incidence. The data showed that indoor occupations grew from one-quarter to three-quarters of total employment between 1910 and 2000, and that during the same period, the outdoor occupation of farming declined from 33% to 1.2% of total employment, a 96% reduction. The data also show that approximately 66% of the decline in the occupation of farmers and 50% of the decline in the occupation of farm laborers occurred after 1935.
Further information from the EPA determined that as of 1986, about 5 percent of adult men worked mostly outdoors, and that about 10 percent worked outside part of the time. The proportion of women who worked outside was thought to be lower. [iv]
This material demonstrates a dramatic shift from outdoor, sunlight-exposed activity to indoor, non-sunlight-exposed activity during the 20th Century, including 1935, the MIF-baseline year. According to these facts, if there is a relationship between sunlight exposure and melanoma, the relationship is inverse—the greater the exposure to sunlight, the less is the risk of melanoma.
It has been theorized that the answer to the statement above, is that a decreasing thickness of the ozone layer (allowing more intense sunlight exposure) is responsible for the increasing incidence of melanoma. However, research by Moan and Dahlback in Norway reported that yearly melanoma incidence increased 350% in men and 440% in women between 1957 and 1984—a period when there was absolutely no thinning of the ozone layer.[v]
2. If melanoma is increasing due to increased exposure to sunlight, it is clear that outdoor workers, being exposed to far more sunlight, would also have far more melanoma. Nevertheless, Godar, et al.[vi] present evidence that outdoor workers, while receiving 3-9 times the UVR exposure as indoor workers,[vii] [viii] have had no increase in melanoma since before 1940, whereas melanoma incidence in indoor workers has increased steadily and exponentially. Many other studies corroborate the Godar findings that outdoor workers have fewer melanomas than indoor workers.[ix] [x] [xi] [xii] [xiii] [xiv] [xv] [xvi] [xvii] [xviii] [xix] [xx] [xxi] [xxii] [xxiii] [xxiv]
I repeat: the greater the exposure to sunlight, the less is the risk of melanoma.
3. If sunlight exposure is the reason for the increase in melanoma, we would expect that areas of the body that receive the most exposure would also be the areas of greatest occurrence of the disease. This is not the case. Research by Garland, et al.,[xxv] assessing the incidence of melanoma occurring at various body sites, found higher rates on the trunk (seldom exposed to sunlight) than on the head and arms (commonly exposed to sunlight). Others have shown that melanoma in women occur primarily on the upper legs, and in men more frequently on the back—areas of little sunlight exposure.[xxvi] In African Americans, melanoma is more common on the soles of the feet and on the lower legs, where exposure to sunlight is almost non-existent.[xxvii]
Again: the greater the exposure to sunlight, the less is the risk of melanoma. How, then can sunlight cause melanoma? Keep in mind that sunscreen use has increased dramatically in the last four decades, paralleling the increase in melanoma. Sunscreens are meant to block sunlight, no? This is one more indication that melanoma risk is increased by sunlight deficiency.
4. A question: If melanoma is caused by sunlight exposure, why do melanomas occur on areas that seldom or never receive sunlight exposure—areas such as inside the mouth,[xxviii] on sexual organs[xxix] and armpits?[xxx]
Mull over this information and you will see that the promoting of sunlight as the cause of melanoma is the promoting of a fraud—a fraud that is creating death and destruction due to vitamin D deficiency, which correlates to more than 100 serious diseases and disorders (see my book for documentation). The Powers of Darkness will continue spreading falsehoods about sunlight and melanoma until the truth is brought forth. Join the sunshine movement and help to spread truth and light. And remember: when you enjoy the sunlight, be sure never to burn.
Be sure to look for Part 2 in my next blog. Perhaps the biggest fraud of all is that some dermatologists are diagnosing harmless skin spots as melanoma--a means to defraud insurance companies and increase profits. We will also show that melanoma incidence may not be increasing at all. Stay tuned. The next blog will provide information from enlightened dermatologists who believe that their own profession is misleading the public!
[i] Melanoma International Foundation, 2007 Facts about melanoma.
[ii] Melanoma International Foundation, 2007 Facts about melanoma.
[iii] Ian D. Wyatt and Daniel E. Hecker. Occupational changes in the 20th century. Monthly Labor Review, March 2006 pp 35-57: Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics
[iv] U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, Catching Our Breath: Next Steps for Reducing Urban Ozone, OTA-O-412 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, July 1989).
[v] J. Moan and A. Dahlback. The relationship between skin cancers, solar radiation and ozone depletion. Br J Cancer 1992; 65: 916–21
[vi] Godar DE, Landry RJ, Lucas AD. Increased UVA exposures and decreased cutaneous Vitamin D3 levels may be responsible for the increasing incidence of melanoma. Med hypothesis (2009), doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2008.09.056
[vii] Godar D. UV doses worldwide. Photochem Photobiol 2005;81:736–49.
[viii] Thieden E, Philipsen PA, Sandby-Møller J, Wulf HC. UV radiation exposure related to age, sex, occupation, and sun behavior based on time-stamped personal dosimeter readings. Arch Dermatol 2004;140:197–203.
[ix] Lee J. Melanoma and exposure to sunlight. Epidemiol Rev 1982;4:110–36.
[x] Vågero D, Ringbäck G, Kiviranta H. Melanoma and other tumors of the skin among office, other indoor and outdoor workers in Sweden 1961–1979 Brit J Cancer 1986;53:507–12.
[xi] Kennedy C, Bajdik CD, Willemze R, De Gruijl FR, Bouwes Bavinck JN; Leiden Skin Cancer Study. The influence of painful sunburns and lifetime sun exposure on the risk of actinic keratoses, seborrheic warts, melanocytic nevi, atypical nevi, and skin cancer. Invest Dermatol 2003;120:1087–93.
[xii] Garland FC, White MR, Garland CF, Shaw E, Gorham ED. Occupational sunlight exposure and melanoma in the USA Navy. Arch Environ Health 1990; 45:261-67.
[xiii] Kaskel P, Sander S, Kron M, Kind P, Peter RU, Krähn G. Outdoor activities in childhood: a protective factor for cutaneous melanoma? Results of a case-control study in 271 matched pairs. Br J Dermatol 2001;145:602-09.
[xiv] Garsaud P, Boisseau-Garsaud AM, Ossondo M, Azaloux H, Escanmant P, Le Mab G. Epidemiology of cutaneous melanoma in the French West Indies (Martinique). Am J Epidemiol 1998;147:66-8.
[xv] Le Marchand l, Saltzman S, Hankin JH, Wilkens LR, Franke SJM, Kolonel N. Sun exposure, diet and melanoma in Hawaii Caucasians. Am J Epidemiol 2006;164:232-45.
[xvi] Armstong K, Kricker A. The epidemiology of UV induced skin cancer. J Photochem Biol 2001;63:8-18
[xvii] Crombie IK. Distribution of malignant melanoma on the body surface. Br J Cancer 1981;43:842-9.
[xviii] Crombie IK. Variation of melanoma incidence with latitude in North America and Europe. Br J Cancer 1979;40:774-81.
[xix]Weinstock MA, Colditz,BA, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ. Bronstein, BR, Speizer FE. Nonfamilial cutaneous melanoma incidence in women associated with sun exposure before 20 years of age. Pediatrics 1989;84:199-204.
[xx] Tucker MA, Goldstein AM. Melanoma etiology: where are we? Oncogene 20f03;22:3042-52.
[xxi] Berwick M, Armstrong BK, Ben-Porat L, Fine J, Kricker A, Eberle C. Sun exposure and mortality from melanoma. J Nat Cancer Inst 2005;97:95-199.
[xxii] Veierød MB, Weiderpass E, Thörn M, Hansson J, Lund E, Armstrong B. A prospective study of pigmentation, sun exposure, and risk of cutaneous malignant melanoma in women. J Natl Cancer Inst 2003;95:1530-8.
[xxiii] Oliveria SA, Saraiya M, Geller AC, Heneghan MK, Jorgensen C. Sun exposure and risk of melanoma. Arch Dis Child 2006;91:131-8.
[xxiv] Elwood JM, Gallagher RP, Hill GB, Pearson JCG. Cutaneous melanoma in relation to intermittent and constant sun exposure—the western Canada melanoma study. Int J Cancer 2006;35:427-33
[xxv] Garland FC, White MR, Garland CF, Shaw E, Gorham ED. Occupational sunlight exposure and melanoma in the USA Navy. Arch Environ Health 1990; 45:261-67.
[xxvi] Rivers, J. Is there more than one road to melanoma? Lancet 2004;363:728-30.
[xxvii] Crombie, I. Racial differences in melanoma incidence. Br J Cancer 1979;40:185-93.
[xxviii] Burgess, A. et al. Parotidectomy: preoperative investigations and outcomes in a single surgeon practice. ANZ J Surg 2008 Sep;78(9):791-3.
[xxix] Ribé, A Melanocytic lesions of the genital area with attention given to atypical genital nevi. J Cutan Pathol. 2008 Nov;35 Suppl 2:24-7.
[xxx] Rhodes, A. Melanoma’s Public Message. Guest editorial, Skin and Allergy News 2003;34