We Are Sunshine

TODAY’S HEADLINE STORY: British Medical Journal publishes report saying sunlight does not cause melanoma.

Friday, July 25th, 2008

Another research dermatologist made waves in the dermatology community Thursday in a published story claiming that sun exposure is not the cause of melanoma — daring to challenge a sacred cow that has been called “the third rail of dermatology.”

2008-07-25-sun-wars-copy.jpgIn a story headlined, “Expert claims that sun exposure is not the cause of melanoma” a British Medical Journal publication on Thursday interviewed dermatologist Dr. Sam Shuster. BMJ’s Nursing in Practice journal wrote, “Sun exposure is not the cause of malignant melanoma, and we should ‘strike a balance’ between avoiding too much sun and getting the beneficial health effects of sunlight, a consultant dermatologist has argued.”

The Journal continued, “Dr. Shuster says melanoma is related to ethnicity rather than pigmentation, and in 75 percent of cases occurs on relatively unexposed sites. He even says that melanoma occurrence decreases with greater sun exposure and can be increased by sunscreens, while sun bed exposure has a small inconsistent effect.”

The Journal also quoted Professor Scott Menzies from the University of Sydney at the Sydney Melanoma Diagnostic Centre. Menzies statement only suggested that “intermittent sun exposure and sunburn are strong independent indicators of the risk of developing melanoma in white populations.”

In other words, the dermatology industry’s response did not suggest that regular, non-burning UV exposure is a significant risk factor. “That’s because there is no research to suggest that non-burning exposure is a significant risk factor,” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy said. “Most reports fail to pick up on this important nuance of the message. But it’s there.”

Shuster is one of several prominent dermatologists who are now stepping out of line and urging the dermatology community to sober up and realize that science does not support a blanket condemnation of UV light. Dr. Bernard Ackerman, an award-winning dermatologist and dermatopatholist in New York, recently released the book, “The Sun and the Epidemic of Melanoma: Myth on Myth!” that suggests that melanoma and sunlight are not related.

To read the full story, click here.

To read Shuster’s landmark paper, “The Skin Cancer Cover Up” visit and click on the landmark reports section.