Spring, Sun and Melanoma

This week marked my sons 33rd birthday and also the first days of spring.  Almost six years ago my, then 27 year old, son was diagnosed with stage III Melanoma which had already spread to lymph nodes in his neck.  To say that this was a frightening time is to say the least.  He was young, had his whole life ahead of him and now it was highly likely he wouldn’t survive this very aggressive form of cancer.  At this stage and level, survival is roughly 1 year.

I’m very happy to say that he beat the odds and almost 6 years later he’s not only survived, but has thrived.  He is now a very fit and healthy 33 yr. old living his life to the fullest.

With spring and summer fast approaching many of us are looking forward to getting back outdoors (esp., in the Northern climates), and into the sunshine.  Unfortunately, many of us have been scared into avoiding the sun at all cost unless we’re clothed, wearing sun glasses and slathered in sunscreen.  But even with my own son’s terrifying experience I still don’t advocate for him to stay out of the sun or use toxic sunscreens.

You see that’s because there really is no one cause for any cancer let alone melanoma or other skin cancers.  For centuries farmers, outdoor workers, sailors and cowboys have spent their working lives in the sun and did not develop melanoma.  So clearly, sunlight is not the only cause of this disease.  As with all cancers it presents as a breakdown of the body systems due to deficiency and toxicity.  We can assume this is true because, with programs such as the Gerson Therapy, which involves detoxing and replenishing the body systems, melanoma is reversible even in advanced stages.

According to a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology the increase in melanoma cases is not due to sunlight but through misdiagnosis or “Diagnostic drift.  This means that more doctors are now classifying benign tumors as stage 1 melanoma even when they have only the slightest, non-cancerous lesion.

Could Lack of Sunshine be a More Likely Offender?

Regardless of what you hear in the press connecting skin cancer to sun exposure there is very little evidence at all to support this.  Over the years though, several studies have proven that “appropriate” sun use actually help prevent skin cancer.   The incidences of melanoma have actually been found to decrease with more sun exposure and can be increased by using sunscreens.

This is because sunscreens not only prevent your body from absorbing the valuable UVB rays but you are also allowing your skin to absorb the toxic chemicals that are in most sunscreens.  Your skin needs the UVB rays to produce its own natural Vitamin D; there is no other way for your body to make this vitamin.  Also, your skin is your body’s largest organ and it absorbs 70% of what you put on it, which is made easier when you are in the heat and your pores open due to that heat.

It is important to note that there are two types of UV rays from sunlight, UVB rays which produce vitamin D and UVA light which, is skin damaging. Although both of these can cause tanning and burning UVA can penetrate your skin more deeply and may be more responsible for photoaging, wrinkles and skin cancers.

How Does Vitamin D Protect You Against Cancer

Because vitamin D is a steroid hormone it influences virtually every cell in your body and is essentially one of nature’s most potent cancer fighters.  So by shying away from sun exposure you are missing out on this natural cancer protector. 

Your organs convert the vitamin D in your bloodstream into something called calcitriol, the active form of vitamin D.  They are then able to use it to repair damage to the body including from cancer cells by:

  • Increasing apoptosis (cell death) of mutated cells
  • Reduces spread and reproduction of cancer cells
  • Reduces new blood vessel growth from existing ones

Use the Sun Wisely, the Dose Matters

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Using the sun therapeutically means the proper amount to optimize vitamin D levels. This means exposing your largest skin surfaces to get a slight pink color.  Exact times will vary depending on skin color, time of day, season, clouds, altitude and age.  The golden rule is to never get burned while still spending as much time as you can in the sun.  For most with fair skin to maximize your D productions takes only 10-20 minutes.

Have your D levels checked at least twice per year and aim for optimal levels of 50-70 ng/ml (125-175 nmol/L Canadians) and when treating cancer or heart disease that should go up as high as 70-100 ng/ml (175 – 250 nmol/L Can).

As mentioned earlier there are many other factors that can contribute to you getting cancer.  If your body’s defenses are depressed due to toxicity and deficiency this can contribute to the onset of malignancy.  Toxicity form air, water, soil, processed foods, prescription drugs, household chemicals, use of personal care products, such as deodorants and more.

Deficiency in our foods also contributes due to depleted soil conditions and poisonous fertilizers.  Our foods are even more depleted by processing including jarring and canning etc.

If you already have melanoma or some other form of skin cancer the first thing to do is eliminate all animal protein from your diet.  Contrary to what you’ve been told we do not need this form of protein but should obtain most of our proteins from vegetables, some fruit and beans and legumes.  Read: Diet and Disease  Scroll down to the Cancer and Diet section.

A healthy diet high in antioxidants  is a good strategy to avoid sun damage to your skin because fresh, raw, unprocessed foods provide many nutrients your body needs to maintain a healthy balance and fight free radial damage. {Free radicals can cause damage to parts of cells such as proteins, DNA, and cell membranes by stealing their electrons through a process called oxidation.}

My son


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Sources: Healing Melanoma, The Gerson Way

Dr. Mercola: