Headline, March19, 2013



It has always seemed a bit of mystery as to what fills the minds of those bodies lying on the Mediterranean beaches, busily acquiring the sort of serious suntan so much admired in the swirl of Europe and the world.

Perhaps in view of recent publicity it has been given all along, they are worrying about skin cancer. They should not. The suntan cancer scare is merely just another depressing example of the way medical experts blame, without sufficient evidence, dreadful diseases on the habits of those who suffer from them.

The Ultraviolet light of sun rays certainly does increase the risk of cancer, in fact two sorts  -a basal cell carcinoma, better known as a rodent ulcer and squamous cell cancer. These are small ulcers that appear on the face or back of the hands of those who spend a lot of time outdoors. They are not, however, cancers in the commonly understood sense of the word, ones that spread throughout the body and are potentially fatal, but slowly carry on growing and are easily cured by a dose of X-Ray treatment or simply by being removed.

But what the experts have been frightening us with are the much more sinister malignant melanomas. The incidence of these little black tumours, which can indeed spread rapidly and fatally, has doubled over the last 20 years  -coinciding with the rise of package holidays to the sun.

The connection is easily made, but there are many reasons to doubt whether these melanomas are related to sun exposure. They are more common among those who work indoors than than farmers and fishermen who tend to get the other two types of skin cancer. They are not found on parts of the body normally exposed to sunlight, like the head, neck and hands, but rather on the trunk and back of the legs.

Comparing the frequency of the cancer between countries, there is no obvious increase with proximity to the equator  -which is what would be expected if they were related to sun exposure. As for the crucial question of whether those who do get a melanoma are more likely to enjoy 'recreational sun exposure' or to go on continental holidays in sunny climates, the answer is, apparently not.

In view of all this it is hard to imagine how the medical experts ever suggested that malignant melanomas were related to sun exposure, but there you are. It still leaves unexplained why the incidence of this cancer has increased so markedly in recent years, but then there are a lot of things medical science still does not understand.

Good Night & God Bless!

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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