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Skin Cancer Information
Experts estimate that more than 1 million new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in the
US this year. The cancers can be basal cell, squamous cell, or the more dangerous melanoma.

Note: it can take 10 to 20 years for the effects of sun damage to appear on the skin, so it is important to take precautions against any getting too much sun exposure, even children. Melanoma usually occurs in adults, but it may occasionally be found in children and adolescents.


Beware of Skin Cancer This Summer

Recently, chemicals in sunscreens have come under question. You might want to avoid sunscreens with the following chemicals: benzophenone-3 (Bp-3), homosalate (HMS), 4-methyl-benzylidene (4-MBC), octyl-methoxycinnamate (OMC), and octyl-dimethyl-PABA (OD-PABA). (The full report on this study is found in Environmental Health Perspectives 2001


Tanning Beds Increase Cancer Threat
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - May 27, 2001

Researchers are cautioning that the roughly 1 million Americans who seek a "safe" tan at their local tanning salon face the same risk of skin cancer as sun-worshippers. According to the study's lead author Dr. S. Elizabeth Whitmore, suntan salon exposure, just like outdoor sun exposure, produces cell damage in the skin--the type of damage that potentially can lead to skin cancer. They found molecular changes which had the potential to increase the bed-tanner's long-term risk of developing skin cancer--a risk they described as being similar to that associated with lying in the sun. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology May 2001;44:775-780

For more information go to Dr. Mercola's newsletter at

Dr. Mercola believes there are two problems with radiation when using the tanning beds. First, X-rays are emitted by the ends of both bulbs. These X-rays can be shielded with a piece of lead tape wrapped around the last inch of the bulb. Second, EMFs are emitted by the magnetic ballast used on many of the tanning beds. It is these magnetic ballasts that give the tanning bed the hum that you here. You can remove the magnetic ballast and replace it with a very quiet and much more efficient electronic ballast to cut this risk.


Options to Protect Yourself

Some of the options to protect yourself prior to the summer sun or going on a vacation?

The key is to limit your initial exposure and take steps to avoid getting sunburned. The sun's most intense rays are emitted one hour on either side of 12:00 (non-Daylight Savings Time). So stay out of the sun from 11 to 1 and increase your exposure gradually. Ultraviolet rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. A good test of how strong the sun is each day is measuring your shadow. The shorter it is, the stronger the sun is that day, requiring you to apply a higher SPF sunblock.

Some medications such as antibiotics can increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about drugs you are taking.

Some believe green tea may help prevent skin cancer, either as a drink or even when added to skin care creams, but more studies are being done on this.