Long-term exposure to sunlight is the leading cause of the occurrence of melanoma. People living close to the equator tend to have a higher occurrence rate of melanoma.
However, sunlight exposure is not an absolute troublemaker to trigger cancer. Safe sunbathing brings a variety of benefits.
Sunlight exposure is reportedly associated with reduce breast cancer risk. A new study conducted by the researchers from the University of Buffalo and the University of Puerto Rico found that there was lower risk of breast cancer associated with greater sun explosive among individuals living with high, continuous sun exposure.
The reason why sunlight exposure helps reduce breast cancer risks is that sunbating promotes the synthesis of vitamin D and an increased high level of vitamin D is linked with reduced breast cancer risk.
Sunbathing can also improve people mood. Sunlight exposure increases the levels of serotonin, a hormone that helps reduce people’s feelings of depression and anxiety and increase feelings of happiness.
Despite the benefits from sunlight exposure, cancer patients shall keep sun safety in mind before they decide to soak up some sunshines.
Some chemotherapy drugs show phototoxic properties, and ultraviolet light exposure can potentially change the chemical composition of these drugs, thus triggering sunburn or rashes. This is why we can find that sunlight exposure is marked as a precaution on the labels of some drugs.
In additional to chemotherapy drugs, radiotherapy can also cause sensitivity to sun. Radiotherapy is a treatment using ionizing radiation, commonly X-rays, to kill cancer cells, and skin reaction is one of the most common side effects of radiotherapy. The skin in the treated areas can turn red, irritated, sunburned, or blistered in the very first weeks of the radiotherapy among some cancer patients.
The skin in the treated areas can be burn easily under the sun and these areas shall not be exposed to sun rays. Cancer patients who are experiencing or just end radiotherapy shall avoid sunlight exposure.
Below are three tips that can guide cancer patients to keep sun safety while enjoying sun benefits.
1. Avoid sun exposure between 11 am and 3 pm when the sun rays are strongest and scorching to the skin. In winter, the intensity of ultraviolet rays is not so strong, so cancer patients can have a walking at noon, while during the summertime, the ultraviolet rays are too strong and they shall have sunlight bathing in the morning and evening.
2. Do sun protection when outdoor. Outdoor activities can help cancer patients relax their mind and boost their mood. Cancer patients shall wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and a wide-brimmed hat to avoid direct sun exposure. Sun screen products and sunglasses are good protections.
3. Eat enough fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C. Lots of studies have found that vitamin C supplementation can help inhibit the occurrence of melanin and sunburn.