Sunday 12 July 2009

More Charity Scaremongering Challenged

Here's a rather topical article.

Sun warnings ‘overstated’ as science finds new clue to skin cancer

Sunshine is not the main cause of the most dangerous form of skin cancer, according to researchers, who say some warnings about the perils of sunbathing are scaring people unnecessarily.

So who would these scaremongers be, then?

Why, step forward multi-million pound business charity, Cancer Research UK.

Most skin cancers are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or sunbeds.

Not so, says this study, produced by "An international team of researchers from Queensland, Australia, Montreal, Canada and Philadelphia, America, led by King’s College London".

Scientists, whose research appears in the current issue of the journal Nature Genetics, claim the number of moles on your skin is the most important factor in the risk of getting melanoma. This reignites the debate over whether official health warnings about avoiding the sun are overstated.

The authors of the research paper maintain sunshine causes only a small proportion of melanoma cases. They believe health warnings would be more useful if they focused on people who have more than 100 moles, and taught them to check regularly the moles for changes in shape, size or colour.

A CRUK spokesperson is wheeled out to comment on the latest news.

“The research does not in any way contradict the bulk of scientific evidence, which shows that most skin cancers are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet [UV] rays.”

Well, it sort of does, but then she is obliged to put a positive spin on it seeing as CRUK fund and/or produce the 'bulk of scientific evidence' of which she speaks.

If this latest study is correct, it would seem that CRUK, through their Sunsmart campaign, have been wrongly scaring the public about the dangers of exposure to the sun for years, with messages such as "Children Cook Quick" and "Sunburn fades - Sun damage lasts".

Targeting merely those who have 100+ moles on their body isn't quite as emotive, and as other national charities have long since worked out, terrifying scare tactics are good for business.

It's just a pity that they are also bad for the public's enjoyment of life in general, and maybe worse.

Discussing their work, the researchers even claim our “obsession” with the dangers of exposure to the sun has contributed to serious vitamin D deficiency. A shortage of sunlight – the most important source of vitamin D – can lead to an increase in deaths from other cancers, osteoporosis, depression and premature ageing.

Something else for Stop Charities Ruining Everyone's World with Egregious Mendacity (SCREW EM) to get their teeth into, perhaps?

H/T Nanny Knows Best


timbone said...

I stand in a solarium for 6 mins every 10 days or so. This is mainly medicinal although not having totally white skin is a bonus. My son passed on some scaremongering to me, so I had a little google. Now CRUK seemed to suggest that I was a disaster waiting to happen (sounds familiar) - according to them ANY exposure to UVA would give you skin cancer, (what was that, 'no safe level?'). I obviously pondered the fact that we didn't have sun cream when I was a kid etc etc.
Anyway, I looked at a few 'non profit making genuine medical establishments who don't think their arseholes are omnicient' sites, and what was the general consensus?
If you do not have genetically fair skin or a mole problem then a sunbed once a week for 30 days a year plus some sunbathing is good for you.

BTS said...

Does this mean that I can leave my nuclear fallout shelter now..?

timbone said...

Just saw an advert on prime time telly (Deal or No Deal break), CRUK! I wonder how many people need to give them...say...£20 of their hard earned cash to pay for that.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Tim, in advance of the Race For Life last year, CRUK ran a series of ads during Coronation Street.

Cost per 30 seconds, around £100,000.

That's a lot of women's sponsorship being sucked up merely to get the CRUK logo onto ITV at prime time.

BTS said...

If any ladies out there would like to sponsor me, I come at a much better rate..

banned said...

Never used any sun cream in my life and I'm still here, btw vitamin D deficiency was also the primary cause of widespread ricketts in Victorian England.

I used to harbour a pet conspiracy theory that manufacturers of sun cream made their stuff attractive to gnats because those people that used it also got pestered more by gnats and felt sompelled to buy gnat repellent.

When do we get the warning about Secondary Sunburn ?