Is it wise to avoid the sun to reduce skin cancer risk?

The recommendation by dermatologists and oncologists to avoid sunlight because of the risk of skin cancer has never made any sense to me.

1. Skin cancer is easily detected at an early stage and dealt with surgically. We also know when to get out of the sun, as the warm glow it gives us quickly turns to pain. Moreover, we probably obtain sufficient additional protectants against skin cancer and all other forms of cancer with a proper whole foods diet. At any rate, this could be a science project – to find out what dietary ingredients provide optimal sun protection.

2. By not getting sufficient vitamin D, one increases the risk of a number of other cancers, all of which are invisible, none of which are easily detected or as easily treated, and some of which are also relatively symptomless until the tumor is advanced. This argues for getting sufficient sunlight or taking a pill. Now which one?

3. Simply taking a vitamin D pill – 2,000 IU per day for adults – is not necessarily optimal. Nature used sunlight to make one beneficial substance. Who is to say that nature did not use this same “strategy” to make several other still unidentified beneficial photo-products? It would be amazing if nature made one and only one beneficial photoproduct. A vitamin D pill will never give us the benefits of those missing products.

At the very least, perhaps it is wiser to hedge – a vitamin D pill plus sufficient sunlight without sunscreen.


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