Can Sunscreens Be Causing Cancer?

As a chiropractor in San Diego, I see more than just cases of back pain. Patients ask all kinds of health questions. For many years, we have known two things in regards to the sun to be true. First, the sun is bad for you. Therefore, exposure should be limited. Most people don’t know this, but the sun has three types of sun rays, not just two. The first is ultraviolet C light. This is also known as UVC. This ray usually does not reach our planet’s surface and this is good because it is believed only brief exposure to UVC rays is fatal to our body. Next is ultraviolet B radiation. This is also known as UVB rays. These have long been considered the tanning rays of the sun. They are strongest during the summer months when the Earth’s orbit is closest to the Sun. UVB rays are what produce a sun tan to our skin.

For many years, sunblocks and sunscreens only attempted to block UVB because science was unaware of the effects of UVA rays (the third type of sun ray) on the body. UVA was believed to be the safe ray in the 1980s, which spawned the growth and popularity of the artificial sun bed industry – some dermatologists even backed this artificial tanning! But, science now believes UVA rays actually do more damage than UVB rays! UVA rays are not dependant on how far the Earth is from the Sun – so the effects are the same all year round. What’s more, UVA penetrates light clothing and car windshields… even many hats. Over-exposure to the sun has been linked to premature aging and even deadly skin cancer.

This brings us to the second so called truth which is limit exposure to the harmful rays of the sun by using high SPF sunscreens and sunblocks. For years, the sunblock industry has been booming with the promise their products protect you from the sun’s aging and cancerous rays. But, research now says these “truths” may not be so “true.” For example, there is no consensus whether sunscreens prevent skin cancer. According to the Environmental Working Groups’ ( finding, “The Food and Drug Administration’s 2007 draft sunscreen safety regulations say: FDA is not aware of data demonstrating that sunscreen use alone helps prevent skin cancer.” (FDA 2007). The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) agrees. The IARC recommends clothing, hats and shade as primary barriers to UV radiation and writes “sunscreens should not be the first choice for skin cancer prevention and should not be used as the sole agent for protection against the sun” (IARC 2001a). Even worse, there is evidence emerging that sunscreen may actually increase the risk of skin cancer!

Researchers conjecture the reason or causes may be lack of UVA protection by most sunscreen for over thirty years, inappropriate usage, staying in the sun longer with sunscreens and some of the ingredients. One large problem is the SPF (sun protection factor) myth. In 2007, the FDA published draft regulations that would ban manufacturers from labeling sunscreens over 50 SPF. The FDA stated that anything over 50 SPF was “inherently misleading.” Even an SPF of 50 can be ambiguous because of the way most people use sunscreen.

In the real world, tests show people apply only one-half to one fifth of the amount used when testing the sunscreen. A person using one-fourth the amount of sunscreen with an SPF of 30 only actually gets an SPF of 2.3. The same person using a sunscreen with SPF 100 ends up with only SPF 3.2.

Then there are also the potential problems with the ingredients found in sunscreens. Retinyl palmitate (a form of Vitamin A also commonly used in sunscreens) may increase the risk of skin cancer. According to Environmental Working Groups, “The publicly available data from FDA’s new study suggest that when used in sun-exposed skin care products, retinyl palmitate and related chemicals may increase skin damage and elevate skin cancer risk instead of protecting the skin.” Also for example, oxybenzone which is a common ingredient, is a known hormone disruptor.

Nearly one in eight sunscreens does not block UVA rays. Many carry the seal of “The Skin Cancer Foundation.” According to the Environmental Working Groups, “The Skin Cancer Foundation (SCF) lends its logo to hundreds of sun protection products. SCF approval is easy, just document that your product has an SPF of at least 15 and provide results of basic tests (for SPF, skin reactions and water and sweat resistance, if such claims are made). Also, according to Environmental Working Groups, 41% of all sunscreens contain retinyl palmitate. All of this may be surprising but what’s even more shocking is that the FDA first issued draft sunscreen regulations in 1978 and last updated the draft in 2007. The regulations are still not final, despite multiple announcements of impending completion. Until the agency formally issues its rules, companies are not required to verify their sunscreens work, including testing for SPF levels, checking waterproof claims or providing UVA protection.

This can all be confusing. If you are, then you are not alone. Here’s something that will make the most of the confusion Disappear. Since sunscreens are probably not as safe as once thought, the best thing to do is stay out of the sun during its peak hours (10:00am – 2:00pm) and whenever possible, wear protective clothing instead of chemicals. Don’t forget, some sun is absolutely necessary for Vitamin D production and proper health. The amount of sun you should get depends on your skin type but you should NEVER burn. Just following some of these simple steps will help avoid damage.

Body Fat Analyzers: How Much You Weigh Is Never Is As Important As How Much Of That Is Fat!

In determining one’s health, weight is never as critical as your body’s percent of fat. Body fat analyzers will help you calculate and track your body composition, weight, and body fat percentage. Body fat analyzers are a must-have for people who are, or need to be, conscious about their weight and health. Body fat analyzers are in high demand these days as the awareness of health risks associated with being overweight are continuously on the rise.

Body fat analyzer scales use the BIA (Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis) technique. By sending a low, harmless electrical current through the body, body composition is measured. The electrical current freely passes through the fluids contained in muscle tissue but encounters resistance when it passes through fat tissue. This resistance of the fat tissue to the electrical current is called “bioelectrical impedance” and is accurately measured by body fat analyzer scales. When set against a person’s height and weight, the body fat analyzers can then compute body fat percentage.

Body fat percentage is the proportion of fat in a person’s body. Therefore, if someone weighs 150 pounds and is 10% fat, this means this person has 15 pounds of fatty tissue on their body. Excess body fat has previously been determined by measuring weight against height, but body fat is not always visible and can only be measured with special equipment such as body fat analyzers; it cannot be measured using ordinary medical scales. It is generally accepted that men should have less than 18% total body fat and women 23% or less. However, experts suggest that an excess is not particularly hazardous to one’s health until an individual accumulates 35% and 40% total body fat respectively. Such fat percentages definitely constitute obesity and can have traumatic health effects. Obesity has been linked to hypertension, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, dyslipidemia, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, endometrial cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, respiratory problems, and other debilitating health conditions, not to mention the need for bariatric equipment and other special living accommodations.

Its one thing to use body fat analyzers to tell you how much fat is in your body, but initially it’s key to understand a few fat essentials. Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary defines fats in this way:

Fats serve as a source of energy. Subcutaneous fats form an insulating layer which prevents loss of heat. Fat acts to support and protect certain organs such as the eyes and kidneys; provides a concentrated reserve of food; provides essential fatty acids necessary for normal growth and development; and is a vehicle for natural fat-soluble vitamins. In conjunction with carbohydrates, fats serve as protein sparers. They are in important constituent of cell structure, forming an integral part of the cell membrane.

So though fats are essential to proper health, excess fat is not. Excess fat is produced when an excess intake of calories in the form of food or drink takes place. When the body is given more calories than necessary for standard maintenance and physical activity, this excess energy is stored in the form of body fat. The only way to lose this excess fat is to burn more calories than calories consumed. This usually means a change in lifestyle (i.e. exercise and diet regimen). The use of a body fat analyzer will keep you on track as you pursue a healthier lifestyle.

Is Alternative Medicine A Solution For Cancer Victims?

If you have cancer or know someone who does, then you know that sometimes the treatment can be as disheartening as the disease. The effects of chemotherapy can reduce cancerous cells, but the side effects are nausea, loss of appetite, and hair loss, just to name a few. It’s no wonder that cancer victims look for alternative forms of treatment, and alternative medicine has come up with some options that are meant to be complimentary to the more “modern” forms of treatment. However, there appears to be no middle ground here; while the alternative medicine community is accused of overstating the validity of alternative medicine, the “conventional” treatment provider’s tend to understate the effects of alternative therapies for cancer sufferers.

While there is no cure for cancer, the NCCAM (National Center for complimentary and Alternative Medicine has conducted studies showing that acupuncture relieves the fatigue, nausea, and pain symptoms associated with both colon and breast cancer, as well as headaches and neck pain associated with surgery for brain tumors or throat cancer. Ginger is a good tasting treatment for the nausea and vomiting side effects of chemotherapy. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is currently being studied as a relief for larynx cancer patients. (Hyperbaric oxygen therapy consists of breathing oxygen which is at an atmospheric pressure greater than sea level. It is being studied to compliment radiation therapy.) Massage is used to relieve fatigue for all forms of cancer.

Another form of alternative therapy used for fighting the symptoms of cancer is coupling pancreatic enzymes with chemotherapy for the use in pancreatic cancer treatment. Pancreatic enzymes are proteins secreted from the pancreas that help in food digestion.

There is a distinction between complimentary medicine and alternative medicine. Complimentary medicine is used along with conventional medicine; whereas alternative is used instead of. Studies show that better long term results were achieved with complimentary medicine on advanced stages of cancer, while alternative medicine seemed to help early stage cancers. The study is called CAM, (complimentary alternative medicine) and statistics show that 36% of adults with various stages of cancer use both therapies. If you include megavitamin therapy in this statistic the numbers almost double to 62%. 79% out of almost 500 cancer patients use some form of complimentary or alternative therapy for cancer symptoms. Possibly the most beneficial part of CAM therapy is that patients can feel as if they are taking some form of control over their cancer, and that increases the quality of life and chances for survival. Bringing relief of pain and increasing hope for cancer patients is reason enough for these foundations to continue to receive grants and continue their studies.

If you are considering CAM therapy, there are some questions that you should ask the health provider before you begin treatment. One of the most important is will the treatment be covered under your health insurance and if so, are there any clauses you should know about? If the therapy is being sponsored as part of a clinical trial, find out who is sponsoring it so you will know if the trial is being conducted by an unbiased company with no marketing credits to be gained by the outcome. You’ll also want to ask if the therapy will interfere with any conventional treatment you might be receiving at the same time. Usually the answer is no-that’s the nature of alternative and complimentary medicine-but you should have all the information before agreeing to any type of treatment. Ask also if there will be any side effects, or if the documented benefits outweigh the risks, if any, involved.

Dr. Richard "Rich" Isaacs: The Doctor is Out – to Serve You!

Most professionals have worked inside a box for so long. By that, we mean it has taken so long for people to take the ways of the innovative world to benefit majority of people, especially in the medical profession. But doctors have learned to come out of their traditional comfort-zones in order to expand their horizon and serve more people in a more dynamic and effective way. Meet one of those physicians who is out there to serve your needs: Dr. Richard Isaacs.

Dr. Isaacs’ qualifications, as posted in his web homepage, were not meant to impress but to inform and convince people of what he is capable of providing. Rich is not only a specialist in Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery but is also an experienced physician who has dealt with various cancer cases (facial skin cancer, jaw tumor. laryngeal cancer, paranasal sinus cancer and thyroid cancer and others). He has also worked in developing innovative medical procedures using robotics and computer-aided medical systems.

With his extensive experience and expertise, it is not surprising that Rich, who attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor as an undergraduate, excelled in academics and garnered honors a graduate. He was born and raised in Detroit and finished his medical degree at the Wayne State University School of Medicine there, also finishing with honors.

Dr. Isaacs joined Kaiser Permanente in 1995 and he holds Advanced Certification in Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery. His specializes in such cases as orbital, nasal, and maxillofacial surgery, as well as thyroid and parathyroid surgical procedures. Moreover, Rich has undergone training in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive surgery and is likewise an expert in post-tumor facial reanimation and facial reconstruction surgery. Rich is a Fellow of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery as well as of the American College of Surgeons. He has written several articles in different medical and other related publications.

In his heart, Rich is a natural teacher and is engaged in training medical students, residents and fellows from the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine (Philadelphia), and Northstate University School of Medicine (Elk Grove) where he serves as a Professor of Otolaryngology. With his passion for teaching, Rich obviously finds personal satisfaction in achieving one of the noblest occupations any person can have in life. Expertise and knowhow thrive through continuing study and research, as well as through bequeathing them on to others who will likewise apply and pass them on through their own practice.

Being a Physician-In-Chief, Rich has shown good leadership abilities as well as proven his integrity as a trustworthy professional. In April of 2005, he was appointed to the Physician-In-Chief position for the South Sacramento and Elk Grove Medical Facilities. He heads 450 physicians and over 3,000 nurses and staff who serve 210,000 Kaiser Permanente members in the South Sacramento and Elk Grove locality. Rich also works as the Medical Director of operations, as well as all inpatient and outpatient sections. He likewise holds the position of Chief Medical Officer for the 290-bed Acute Care Hospital and ACS Level II Trauma Center.

Physicians are some of the most workaholic workers we know; however, they strive to spend meaningful time in other endeavors, such as in sports. And for a doctor with his credentials, Rich chose to become a skier and an Alpine Member at the National Ski Patrol, providing complete care to injured skiers at the Tahoe Donner Ski Resort. Not only is that inspiring; it is quite commendable – spending time out of the clinic and in the great outdoors while seeing to the medical needs of other sports-enthusiasts.

Here then is a physician you would want and who is totally prepared to meet your needs: Dr. Richard “Rich” Isaacs – now out there to catch you when you fall and falter.

A patient with a sizeable early vocal cord cancer is treated with the KTP laser instead of radiation.

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