The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    New view on the risk of skin cancer from UVA

    Now that new UVA blockers are being marketed, it’s not surprising to see more research in this area. The UVA sunscreen issue has been discussed here and here.

    Now, results from new research.

    First, some background.

    Solar radiation in the UVB spectrum (290 nm-320 nm) has been recognized as the primary cause of nonmelanoma skin cancer. Cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPDs) develop in skin exposed to UVB and produce genetic alterations in DNA that cause cutaneous squamous cell and basal cell cancer. Like UVB, UVA can cause nonmelanoma skin cancers, but the tumors take longer to develop and require much larger doses of light due to indirect damage to DNA. At least that?s the conventional wisdom.

    In a laboratory study, whole skin was exposed to either UVB or UVA radiation. As expected, the predominant form of DNA damage in the UVB-irradiated skin was the CPD.

    Surprisingly, numerous CPDs were found in the UVA samples as well. Compared to UVB-induced CPDs, the UVA-induced CPDs persisted longer in the skin, suggesting that the DNA-repair processes were less effective in removing UVA-induced CPDs than UVB-induced lesions.

    If confirmed, these findings make it even more important to be protected from UVA on the beach and reconsider using that tanning lamp.

    10/24/06 20:31 JR

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