London: Women who regularly sunbathe tend to live longer, says a leading oncologist.
Vitamin D produced by the body while tanning gives vital protection against blood clots, diabetes and some tumours, says Prof Hakan Olsson from Lund University in Sweden.
He also suggests that the health benefits of exposure to sunlight `far outweigh` the danger of skin cancer, according to a Lund statement.
But the professor`s claims, based on a study of 40,000 women, sharply contradict warnings that sun exposure is behind soaring levels of skin cancer, reports the Daily Mail.
Rates of malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of the disease, have quadrupled since 1980. Experts blame the rise on sunbeds and the increasing numbers of Britons going abroad on cheap package holidays.
But Prof Olsson, who works in the oncology unit at Lund University, believes the benefits of the sun `far outweigh the negatives`.
He said there was overwhelming evidence that exposure to the sun helps protect against blood clots in the leg, which claim the lives of 25,000 Britons a year.
These clots, known as deep vein thromboses, have been shown to be far more prevalent in winter than summer.
Prof Olsson, presented his findings at the Swedish Society of Medicine.