Research confirms that even though more people use sunscreen and fewer people sunbathe, melanoma cancer rates have continued to skyrocket.
Of all types of cancer in the United States, skin cancer is the most common. This might come as a surprise to many. Furthermore, the most lethal form of skin cancer is melanoma.
Melanoma rates have doubled in 30 years
In 2014, some 76,000 Americans were diagnosed with melanoma and nearly 10,000 died from the condition.
According to a June 2, 2015 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, rates of melanoma have doubled on a per-capita basis between 1982 and 2011. In 1982, there were 11.2 cases per 100,000 people. In 2011 – the most recent data – there were 22.7 cases for every 100,000 people.
Certainly, the population of the U.S. has grown substantially over this 30-year period. But this way of calculating rates of cancer is irrespective of population growth.
The rate of cancer growth is even more dramatic when the population growth is considered. In 1982, the U.S. population was 231,664,458. In 2010, the population was 310,232,863. If we do the math, we get some 26,000 cases of melanoma in 1982 and nearly 71,000 cases in 2011. This equates to nearly three times the cases of melanoma.
This begs the question: Has conventional medicine really found the cause of melanoma? Is allopathy’s assumption that the sun is the culprit correct?
Note also this means that melanoma incidence has continued to grow, from 71,000 cases in 2011 to 76,000 cases last year. So the trend continues. Despite the facts:
Sunscreen sales skyrocket between 1982 and 2011
According to a market research report by IBIS World, the sales of sunscreen grew 4.2 percent a year from 2007 and 2014, to an estimated market size of 382 million dollars. This means a cumulative growth of nearly 30 percent over a period of just seven years.
This means that just over the past seven years, there is thirty percent more sunscreen being applied.
But how about sunscreen use since 1982?
In 1972, sales of sunscreen on a global basis was estimated to be $18 million. By 1996, this hit $500 million. Today according to a 2012 Prezi market analysis presented by Aubrey Harris, the global market for sunscreens was equivalent to about USD $686 million.
Let’s do the math. $686 divided by $18 equals 38. This means that while U.S. rates of melanoma have doubled in the past thirty years, sunscreen sales have gone up by about 38 times: Skyrocketed, in other words.
In percentage terms, the melanoma rate doubling is equivalent to about 200 percent (more like 205 percent – 11.2 to 22.7) and the sunscreen sales, a lofty 3800 percent.
What about the delay time from protection to disease?
The delay or lag time for sunscreen’s protection does not accommodate these statistics. The typical lag time for melanoma is typically about two years according to the research.
But to be conservative, if we assume that there is an extended lag time (for some reason) between the protection that sunscreen offers to prevent skin cancer of say, a decade or two: It still does not pencil. We would have seen falling rates of skin cancer long ago
There is, in fact, no evidence that sunscreen prevents skin cancer.
Are more people getting sunburnt?
One might assume that perhaps more people are going out to the beaches more and getting more sunburned. Could that be true? Actually, its not. People have been crowding the beaches during the summertime since the 1930s. And they’ve been getting sunburned for many decades since.
In the 1950s and 1960s, it became so important to have that bronzed look that most beach and pool goers were putting on lotions that would intensify the effects of the sun. Sunburn was considered a sign of health. Just consider the old Coppertone girl – sunburnt everywhere except on her bottom. This was the icon of the sunburn era.
Today, if you haven’t noticed lately, pale white is fashionable. The bronze look has been replaced with the pasty pale look as far as skin color goes.
Fewer people have been going sunbathing
Furthermore, beach communities around the country have been reporting fewer beach visitors over the past few years. This is confirmed by national park statistics for beach parks that show a reduction of people who go on vacations to the beach.
For example, in 1998, Cape Hatteras national park (a beach park) brought in 2,737,640 visitors. In 2011, there were only 1,960,711 visitors to the Hatteras beach park. In between these years, the yearly visitors fell off gradually, even as the population grew. And the U.S. population grew considerably during these years, of over 15 percent – about 270 million in 1998 to 310 million in 2010.
Cape Cod – another beach national park – had 4,978,838 visitors in 1981 (2.1 percent of the population). In 2011, there were only 4,454,771 visitors (1.4 percent of the 2010 population).
This drop in sunshine exposure includes inland vacationers as well. National parks have reported fewer visitors per capita since 1982 after population growth is factored. In 1982, the national parks reported over 235 million visitors, or 1.017 visitors per capita (pop. 231 million). In 2011, total visitors were over 279 million, which equates to 0.9 visitors per capita. This equates to more than a 10 percent drop in national park visitors over the thirty-year period where melanoma rates have doubled.
Thus we cannot logically equate the growth of skin cancer with an increase in sun exposure.
Less sunnier states can have higher melanoma rates
While melanoma incidence does tend to increase seasonally, this is just about the only relationship between increased sun and melanoma. As I have broken down in my book, studies have repeatedly shown that incidence rates for melanoma tend to be lower among those areas that have greater sunshine and increased risk of sunburn.
Just consider the map below, from the Centers for Disease control. See the legend explanation below it:
• The green states have the lowest melanoma incidence – from 9.0 to 18.4 per 100,000. These include some of the nation’s sunniest regions, such as Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
• The teal states have the second lowest melanoma incidence – from 18.5 to 20.4 cases per 100,000 people. These include extremely sunny areas like Hawaii, California, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina.
• The light blue states have the second to highest melanoma incidence – from 20.5 to 22.8 cases per 100,000 people. These include Florida, but also states that get far less sunlight, such as North Dakota, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey and Wyoming.
• The darker blue states have the highest incidence of melanoma incidence – from 22.9 to 34.1 per 100,000 people. This is over triple the lowest incidence in the green states. These states include states with less sunshine, such as Delaware, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.
• As for the grey state – Nevada – data is not available.
Just consider the last three states mentioned in the darker blue states: Oregon, Vermont and Washington state. These are states with the some of the highest cloud cover and rainfall figures of any other state. Yet these states are among the states with the highest rates of melanoma in the U.S.
And those states with the most sun – some with virtually no winters such as Arizona, Hawaii, New Mexico, California and so on – are on the lowest end of the spectrum of melanoma incidence.
These facts – together with additional facts presented in my book, should convince any sane, rational person that melanoma is neither caused by getting too much sun, nor is it caused by not having enough sunscreen protection.
What about tanning booths?
Yes, conventional tanning booths have been linked to melanoma. But as I illustrate in my book, unnatural radiation is a whole other topic. Melanoma rates also increase following exposure to a nuclear bomb.
Is it the sunscreen?
Many have put forth the argument that the growth in melanoma is specifically related to sunscreen. Since sunscreen sales have expanded some 38 times over the past three decades while melanoma rates have doubled, it must be toxic sunscreen, right?
And yes, as I report in detail in my book, many sunscreens have contained – and some still do – chemicals that have been linked with cancer. Chemicals such as oxybenzone.
But it isn’t logical that such a massive growth in melanoma rates can only be attributed to sunscreen. It if were, then the sunnier states such as Hawaii, Texas, Arizona and California would also have the highest rates of melanoma right? Since the people in those sunnier states would wear considerably more sunscreen.
And this would also mean that Oregon, Washington, Vermont and Maine would have little incidence. Right?
How deep is the skin?
The problem is that allopathic medicine has been considering the skin to be like a roof on a house. The roof on a house is on the outside of the house and has little to do with the inside of the house, unless the roof is broken and water leaks in. (And if there is a leak, should we blame the rain or the hole in the roof?)
But the skin is not like a roof. The skin is a tissue. It is an organ of the body. Yes, it is on the outside of the body, but it is still involved in the metabolism of the body. This means that we cannot merely consider what takes place on the outside of the skin – in terms of what the skin is exposed to.
Certainly exposure is a participant. Yes, unnatural exposure to radiation can damage the skin. But the skin is a metabolic organ that naturally repairs itself and produces melanin to protect itself – as long as the body’s metabolism is healthy.
And therein lies the rub: Melanoma can be linked to unnatural radiation exposures – and sunburn can be a factor. But the sun is not the primary cause. This is consistent with the scientific research I show in my book.
For example, did you know that many melanoma cases appear on parts of the body that are never even exposed to the sun?
Centers for Disease Control. Press Release. Rates of new melanomas – deadly skin cancers – have doubled over last three decades. June 2, 2015.
IBIS World. Sunscreen Manufacturing in the US: Market Research Report. July 2014. Acc. June 4, 2015.
Kish JN. US Population 1976 to Present
Castleman M. Sunscam. Mother Jones. May/June 1998.
Harris A. Sunscreen Market Presentation. Prezi. November 6, 2012.
National Park Service. U.S. Department of the Interior. Visitor Use Statistics.
CDC. Skin Cancer Rates by State. June, 2015.
Adams C. Healthy Sun: Healing with Sunshine and the Myths About Skin Cancer. Logical Books, 2014.
Case Adams is a California Naturopath and a Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and diplomas in Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Bach Flower Remedies, Blood Chemistry, Clinical Nutritional Counseling and Colon Hydrotherapy. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies.