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We may have got it wrong about sun exposure, cancer group admits
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Cancer support groups are beginning to recognise they may have gone too far with their advice to avoid sunshine

Cancer support groups are beginning to recognise they may have gone too far with their advice to avoid sunshine. Because of stark warnings about skin cancer, adults have stayed out of the sun - and almost all are now deficient in vitamin D. The sun is the primary source of the vitamin, and almost every week new research is demonstrating its importance in maintaining health. In the past couple of weeks, for example, researchers have found that people with high levels of vitamin D are much less likely to suffer cognitive decline. The vitamin is also a safeguard against Parkinson's disease, cancer, heart disease and type II diabetes. However, anything between 40 per cent and 100 per cent of adults tested have been deficient in the vitamin - and now cancer groups believe they may have a part to play in this mass nutritional lack. Cancer Research UK is drawing up new guidelines, and may soon suggest that people should get some exposure to the midday sun. Its current advice is to avoid the sun between 11am and 3pm, wear clothing, and to put on a sunscreen. But, in behind-the-scenes meetings, the charity is considering a new position paper that recommends people have 'little and often' exposure to the midday sun. The body gets vitamin D from the sun when the skin reddens without getting burned, and this can usually be achieved within 15 to 30 minutes outdoors without sunscreen on a hot sunny day. (Source: The Independent, July 5, 2010).

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