Posted by: brian | August 15, 2007

How to not get melanoma

An article at Slate discusses tanning, focusing primarily on recent research about whether or not UV light is addictive.
Near the bottom of the first page, they have a section titled 2) Does sunscreen protect against melanoma? The short answer looks to be “No*.” But pay attention to this statement:

the findings don’t hold true for melanoma (subscription required)

So all I have to do to avoid melanoma is not subscribe? How hard can that be? Are there any other health risks that I could cancel my subscription to? Is there a toll-free number for this stuff? What about good health? Can I subscribe to that too? (I’ll take the 3% body fat, the 6-pack abs, and the highest metabolism you’ve got. Could I also see the Joints menu? I’m thinking about new knees.)

*It may, in fact, increase your risk of developing melanoma, because until recently, most sunscreens only blocked UVB, not UVA. Some researchers wonder if UVA is the (primary) electromagnetic cause of melanoma, and so blocking UVB did no good against it – and in fact, by preventing sunburn and creating a false sense of security, encouraged people to stay out longer, absorbing even more UVA. That’s one hypothesis, at least.

Coming soon: How to not get megalomania!

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