Exposure to UV-B radiation may cause skin cancer, but it also prevents many other cancers through activating vitamin D. According to many, UV-B - the solar radiation that causes sunburn - as a risk factor for melanoma, and other skin cancers. That is generally true, but what is not generally realised is that the reverse may also be the case - that UV-B prevents cancer.
Dr.William Grant, an independent researcher based in Hopkins University has analysed cancer rates in New England and compared them to those in the Southern states. He says that cancer rates are inversely related to UV-B exposure, for cancers of the breast, colon, ovary, oesophagus, and stomach. The main reason is that sunlight initiates production of vitamin D, whose anti-cancer effect is well known.
It would be good to get the benefits of UV-B without the risks. One way might be to use vitamin D supplements as a substitute for the action of UV-B on dietary pre-vitamin D. More research is needed to establish the role of such supplements. Meanwhile, a daily walk in the open air might be a good way of ensuring you're not completely cut off from solar radiation, especially if you live in a northern latitude.