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  • The sunscreen debate continues to rage in spite of all sorts of professional and medical opinions out there.

    Conflicting info on a myriad of health issues is what keeps us stuck in a lot of instances like the great weight loss debate – and now skin cancer.

    One prominent doctor, Dr. Michael F Holick, in an op-ed to the Washington Post, says the sun is not the enemy it’s made out to be. It’s OK to step away from the sunscreen – at least for a little while. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/go-ahead-soak-up-some-sun/2015/07/24/00ea8a84-3189-11e5-97ae-30a30cca95d7_story.html)

    These messages have caused widespread paranoia about sunlight, and now, “It’s safe to step back outside — and, please, go easy on the sunscreen.”

    “Faced with high cancer rates, health authorities have rushed to damn the sun without taking into account the many scientifically documented health benefits it provides . . . “

    Experts say that five bad sunburns over a lifetime – will contribute to an 86% rise in an incidence of skin cancer – for you.

    I don’t know about you, but I’ve had at lease five or more really bad sunburns over my lifetime. And two recent skin cancer scares.

    skinThose of us Boomers who baked, broiled, broasted and burnt our butts back in the day – the day before any of us, including the medical profession – even suspected the ravages of the sun’s rays are at high risk for skin cancer. Having a tan was one thing my idol, Coco Chanel, didn’t get quite right. While “everyone looks better with a tan,” she had no idea about skin cancer risks.


    The question in contention is: Should you get your vitamin D from the sun or from a supplement? I take vitamin D daily. And I’ll take my chances.


    Once you’ve had a skin cancer scare or two – trust me, you’ll slop on that sunscreen like it’s mayo on a BLT – unless you’re crazy, have a death wish and just don’t care about your future health.


    “The danger of the sun has been exaggerated,” some experts say?


    The American Cancer Society says the dangers of the sun exposure are very real. Five million people are treated annually for skin cancer . . . I am one of those five million.


    You can get a little exposure to the sun, but if this means we must rely on the sun to get our vitamin D, just as our hunter-gatherer ancestors did, let us remember – the ozone layer was intact way back then – and skin cancer was virtually unheard of . . .


    Further, Dr. Holick’s current Op-Ed piece states, “We simply aren’t getting enough vitamin D. The USDA’s 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee placed the compound high on its list of underconsumed nutrients . . . “


    These are the same folks who shoved the “Low Fat” diet guidelines down our throats – escalating the obesity epidemic to epic proportions. Need I say more.


    Tread lightly, my friends, slop on that sunscreen, cover up, wear a hat. Or not. You be the judge cos in the end, like everything else in life – it’s all up to you . . .



    Here’s a few facts about skin cancer that you should know:


    * Melanoma is the #1 deadliest skin cancer there is.


    * Women are 8 times more likely than men to get malignant melanoma and other skin cancers.

    Probably because there’s no telling guys anything . . .


    * The sun and tanning beds are primary causes of skin cancers.


    * If your skin is tan, it’s damaged. Period.

    Just sayin’.


    * With each exposure to the sun or in a tanning bed, your chances of developing skin cancer increase.


    * Repeat after me: “There is no such thing as a safe tanning bed.”


    * There’s a big misconception that tanning beds get your skin ready for summer.

    Sunscreen and protective clothing get your skin ready for summer – nothing else.


    * Heredity and the lighter your skin is, the more you’re at risk.

    Let me just say this: I’m screwed. I’ve lived my life as a lobster from the time I was born up until my recent biopsies. Now, when I go in the sun, I look like Liz Taylor starring in “Night of the Ninja,” which my Derm Doc absolutely loves to hear. I have all manner of sun reflective apparel, protective hats and visors at my disposal.


    * Skin burns accumulated over a lifetime all add up.

    This is the part that worries me the most. Again, I roasted myself as a kid in our backyard pool, on every single vacay to the tropics I’ve ever taken, and everywhere else in between. So if this sounds like you, take heed.


    * The good news is: Melanoma is an avoidable cancer!


    * Avoid tanning beds, minimize your time in the sun (too late for some of us, so all we can do is better protect ourselves going forward), avoid the sun between 11 am and 2 pm, and always, always, always use sunscreen. Did I say, always?


    And I’ll leave you with some wise words, especially for you younger chicks: Take double heed. Now, or else. I know I have to . . . or else. How cute are you gonna look without a nose?