To sun or shun: Doctors struggle with sun's risks and benefits

12/29/2010 | Santa Cruz Sentinel (Calif.)

Too much sun exposure is a well-known risk factor in skin cancer, but people who get too little sun may have inadequate levels of vitamin D, which protects bones and may prevent heart disease and some cancers, recent research by Stanford University dermatologists suggests. Doctors, however, hesitate to recommend that patients increase sun exposure. "It's like handing your kids a bag of cookies and telling them not to eat the whole bag -- just eat a few -- and then expecting them to make a good decision," said Boston University dermatologist Dr. Barbara Gilchrest, who added that low vitamin D has also been linked to obesity.

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Santa Cruz Sentinel (Calif.)

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