Pancreatic Cancer Linked to Less Sun Exposure
New research supports the hypothesis that the sun is important to our health. Recent research shows that less sunshine is linked to a greater prevalence of pancreatic cancer.
Is the sun really our enemy?
We’ve quickly become a nation of sunblock. Parents are covering their children’s skins SPF-50s, and adults are slathering up. The effect is to almost completely block the sun’s ultraviolet-B (UV-B) rays.
The primary reason given for the “deadly sun” has been the risk of cancer is theoretically increased by increased UV-B exposure.
Yet as I prove in my book, “Healthy Sun,” this is simply not true. The research shows just the opposite: That healthy UV-B exposure on the skin is associated with a reduction of many types of cancers – including melanoma.
We can now add an additional study to this evidence
A study from the University of California at San Diego found that pancreatic cancer risk is reduced in those regions that have greater ultraviolet-B radiation.
The study analyzed cancer data from 172 countries around the world. The countries with significantly less ultraviolet-B radiation had about 600 percent – or six times – more incidence of cancer compared to those countries with greater UV-B radiation – and thus less cloud cover.
This relationship remained when other risk factors known for pancreatic cancer were considered.
These regions with the highest rates of pancreatic cancer around the world include North America and Northern Europe, while those regions with the lowest rates include Asia and Africa.
On the other hand, those areas that have greater cloud cover and reduced ultraviolet-B radiation from the sun have the greatest incidence of pancreatic cancer.
The study was led by Dr. Cedric Garland, and Dr. Edward Gorham, both professors in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at UC San Diego. Dr. Garland is also a member of the UCSD Moores Cancer Center. Dr. Garland commented on the study:
“People who live in sunny countries near the equator have only one-sixth of the age-adjusted incidence rate of pancreatic cancer as those who live far from it. The importance of sunlight deficiency strongly suggests – but does not prove – that vitamin D deficiency may contribute to risk of pancreatic cancer.”
According to the World Cancer Research Fund, pancreatic cancer is a leading cause of cancer, with some 338,000 new cases reported every year. It is also the fourth leading cause of cancer death.
Note that earlier research discussed in my book has found that the type of vitamin D produced from smart sun exposure is different than the vitamin D found in most vitamin supplements. We’ve also discussed that healthy sun exposure is linked to cognitive health.
Garland CF, Cuomo RE, Gorham ED, Zeng K, Mohr SB. Cloud cover-adjusted ultraviolet B irradiance and pancreatic cancer incidence in 172 countries. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2015 Apr 9. pii: S0960-0760(15)00101-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2015.04.004.
UC San Diego News Center. Pancreatic Cancer Risk Linked to Weak Sunlight. April 29, 2015.