Non-melanoma skin Cancer (NMSC) and Alzheimer’s Disease

Non-melanoma skin Cancer (NMSC) and Alzheimer’s Disease

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute

Whereas melanoma, the deadly skin cancer, is inversely associated with sunlight exposure (more sunlight exposure, less melanoma) the same is not true for NMSC, which is directly associated with sunlight exposure. It is a rarely fatal disease unless the immune system is compromised due to other diseases or anti-rejection drugs. It has been shown that NMSC associates to a lower risk of melanoma and many other cancers.

I am not suggesting that we contract NMSC in order to prevent melanoma. Correct nutritional habits can also reduce the risk of both NMSC and melanoma,[1] and it should be remembered that in the case that someone contracts an NMSC, it can be easily removed. Melanoma, however, can be deadly. The best bet is to eat wisely and obtain plenty of regular sun exposure so that risk of melanoma is dramatically decreased.

NMSC is often used as a marker for sunlight exposure and is compared with various diseases beyond cancer to determine if sunlight exposure associates to those diseases. Dr. Bill Grant just sent me a paper showing that among people over 70 with NMSC, the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is profoundly decreased;[2] in fact those with NMSC had a 79% reduced risk of Alzheimer’s. Or stated another way, those without NMSC had about five times the risk of the disease. Of course, this demonstrates the value of sunlight in reducing AD.

Let’s protect our minds as we age by getting plenty of non-burning sunlight! Search the Sunlight Institute site to learn more about how Alzheimer’s is influenced by sunlight and vitamin D.

[1] http://sunlightinstitute.org/lets-revisit-the-need-for-appropriate-nutrition-in-preventing-melanoma-death/

[2] White RS, Lipton RB, Hall CB, Steinerman JR. Nonmelanoma skin cancer is associated with reduced Alzheimer disease risk. Neurology. 2013 May 21;80(21):1966-72.

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