Does Sunshine Really Cause Skin Cancer?

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Dermatology expert Dr. Bernard Ackerman dispels the the myth of skin cancer being caused by sunlight in his research on melanoma.

Does Sunshine Really Cause Skin Cancer?

Dermatologist Dr. Bernard Ackerman devotes many hours of his time diagnosing cases of cancer. On a recent trip, he didn’t seem worried about the potential risk of the disease while he sunbathed without the use of sunscreen or a hat.

Ackerman, an expert in the field of dermatology, said that the connection between melanoma and the sun is both inconclusive and inconsistent.

Commonly Held Assumptions on the Sun and Melanoma

If a person is badly sunburned, to the point of blistering at an early age in their life, they will develop skin cancer later on in life. Ackerman pointed out there were contradictions in the studies supporting this theory.

Another common assumption is that sunscreen acts as a protection against melanoma. To counter this theory, Ackerman referred to a study completed in a dermatology journal on the subject that didn’t provide any factual evidence to support this theory.

The more intense the exposure to the sun, the greater the likelihood of developing melanoma. Ackerman claimed that much of the epidemiological research is inaccurate and doesn’t evaluate cause and effect findings. 

Ackerman advised keeping out of the sun if you’re concerned about premature aging or if you’re very fair-skinned due to the increased risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma, a less dangerous form of cancer. Otherwise, Ackerman said it was not wise to hold onto the beliefs that included avoiding the sun and using sunscreen as ways to protect against melanoma. 

Ackerman further challenged the “epidemic” of melanoma by questioning why African Americans and Asians developed melanoma on their skin mainly on areas that haven’t been exposed to the sun such as the palms, soles, nails and mucous membranes.

Another dermatologist who disagreed with Ackerman’s ideas stated that people who developed melanoma in areas that weren’t exposed to sun were a result of the way sunlight suppressed immune cells in the surface of the skin that normally kept cancer at bay.

Ackerman explained that this “immune-system argument” lacked evidence and acted as a hypothesis to the sun-exposure-causes-melanoma hypothesis.


Source: , July 23, 2004


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This entry was posted on Monday, May 13th, 2024 at 2:09 am and is filed under Research.

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