There are times when the Internet is awesome, like when it brings you videos of tiny hedgehog birthday parties or is part of a revolution to change beauty standards. And then there's times when the Internet is awful, like when it lies and tells you that the one thing you've been doing to protect yourself from skin cancer could actually be killing you.
An article published on RealFarmacy.com earlier this week took findings from a massive Swedish study and presented them as such: "Scientists Blow The Lid On Cancer & Sunscreen Myth." The piece went on to describe very specific findings from a study done at Karolinska University, which saw a slight increase in death rates for women who avoided the sun and used protection. The article also quoted other experts, like Dr. Bernard Ackerman, who claimed there was no link between melanoma and sun exposure, in 2004.
As Snopes.com points out, the population used in Swedish study was primarily light-skinned and light-haired, and are also based in a location that did not receive sun for a portion of the year. Human bodies do need some exposure to sunlight in order to get vitamin D, but it needn't be enough to burn your skin. If the subjects were avoiding the sun altogether, that may have well been to the detriment of their health.
Meanwhile, other sources that make claims stating that using sunscreen can give you cancer don't necessarily take into account the idea that, for example, people who use sunscreen may assume they're protected for longer than they are, and expose themselves to harmful rays, noted the Daily Mail.
As Dr. Julie Sharp, of Cancer Research UK, said: ‘People tend to think they’re invincible once they’ve put it on and end up spending longer out in the sun, increasing their overall exposure to UV rays."
In Canada, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, and only on the rise. And while doctors and health experts definitely recommend using sunscreen, they also emphasize it is not the only way to protect yourself, and urge the use of hats, light layers and finding shade whenever possible.
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