MRF issues a statement in response to recent media attention around vitamin D

Tue, 2008-04-01

Contact: 
                            Heather R. Huhman
                           Jones Public Affairs
                           (202) 742.5259
                            heather@jonespa.com

MELANOMA INCIDENCES ATTRIBUTED TO UV EXPOSURE
-A Statement from the Melanoma Research Foundation-

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ – The following is a statement in response to recent media attention on exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays and its role in the natural production of vitamin D.

While the health benefits of vitamin D are well known, the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) cautions the public about the risks associated with excessive exposure from UV radiation. 

“It’s important that we remain vigilant in making safe decisions when it comes to the sun. Sadly, approximately 65 percent of melanomas – the most serious form of skin cancer and one of the fastest growing cancers in the U.S. – are attributed to UV exposure,” said Dr. Allan Halpern, Member of the Melanoma Research Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee and Chief of the Dermatology Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

The MRF recommends the following:

  • Do not burn—avoid intentional tanning and indoor tanning beds. Ultraviolet light can cause skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want to look like you’ve been in the sun, consider using a sunless self-tanning product, but continue to use sunscreen with it.
  • Generously apply sunscreen to all exposed skin using a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 that provides broad-spectrum protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Re-apply every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, when possible.
    Seek shade when appropriate, remembering that the sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Use extra caution near water, snow and sand, as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.

Melanoma is a serious condition and can strike people of all ages, races and both sexes. In fact, with a one in 50 lifetime risk of developing melanoma, this year more than 62,000 are expected to be diagnosed in the U.S. with the disease, resulting in an estimated 8,400 deaths.

Those concerned about vitamin D deficiency should not seek the sun as there is clear, evidence-based data about the harmful effects of UVA and UVB rays. The MRF recommends individuals speak with their doctor before seeking the sun or indoor tanning as a solution.

About Melanoma Research Foundation
The Melanoma Research Foundation is the largest private, national organization devoted to melanoma in the United States.  The Foundation is committed to the support of medical research in finding effective treatments and eventually a cure for melanoma.  The Foundation also educates patients and physicians about prevention, diagnosis and treatment of melanoma, while acting as an advocate for the melanoma community to raise awareness of this disease and the need for a cure.  The MRF Web site is the premiere source for melanoma information seekers.  More information is available at www.melanoma.org.

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