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Skin cancer fear unhealthy for bones

21st July 2008

According to a poll by the National Osteoporosis Society (NOS), anxieties about skin cancer means people are not spending any time in the sun.

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Lack of exposure to sunshine can result in the body not producing enough vitamin D. This can lead to brittle bone disease.

The number of people in the UK who have skin cancer has increased recently and campaigns have urged people not to stay in the sun for too long.

The poll interviewed 2,600 people in June. It found that many respondents thought there was "no such thing as safe sun exposure".

75% of people said that sun protection should "always" be put on the skin before it was exposed to sunshine.

The NOS said that skin should be exposed to the sun for 15 to 20 minutes per day in order to produce vitamin D. The vitamin is crucial for strong bones and preventing osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is suffered by 50% of women and 20% of men aged over 50.

Professor Roger Francis, from the NOS Medical Board, said: "We are not advocating spending lengthy periods in the sun, as too much sun causes skin ageing and melanoma."

"Furthermore, staying in the sun too long means that the body breaks down surplus vitamin D shortly after it is produced."

He said people needed to get outside every day, even when the sun was not shining, to ensure they received enough vitamin D.

 

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