Happy Mother and Children Playing Outside

Summer Is Here – How Much Sun Is Safe?

A new wristband has been developed to alert people as to how much sun exposure is safe.  The new device changes colour depending on the amount of ultraviolet B radiation (the tanning component of sunlight) it is exposed to.  This should allow parents to monitor their childrens exposure to sunlight. The full story can be found here

Sunlight and Vitamin D – what’s the story?

Deficiency and insufficiency of vitamin D is common, particularly in those who avoid sunlight – such as consultant dermatologists! Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to all sorts of medical conditions such as Rickets and even cancer. It is known that sunlight helps with the production of vitamin D in the skin.  What is not so clear however, is the precise amount of sun exposure require to produce adequate levels of vitamin D.

What do dermatologists recommend if you have low vitamin D levels?  Vitamin D can easily be increased by simply taking vitamin D supplements.  Dermatologists generally don’t condone sun exposure as a way to increase vitamin D as we have seen the national levels of skin cancer rocketing in the last few decades.

Further immunotherapy successes in melanoma

The drugs ipilimumab and nivolumab have both been discussed in these pages many times.  A study reported today in the New England Journal of Medicine  shows the drugs when given in combination to treat advanced (metastatic) melanoma have had significant positive effects.  Both drugs are able to prevent the melanoma from suppressing the body’s natural immune response, thus empowering an immune response against the cancer.  The study showed that melanoma tumours shrunk significantly in over 50% of trial candidates, a result which has never before been seen in immunotherapies for melanoma.  The full story can be seen here.