READING PASSAGE 1
You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13, which are based
Reading Passage 1
THE SUN – A MIXED BLESSING
A People in Western countries have very mixecl feelings
the sun. On
the one hancl it
evolves memories of beaches, summer holidays ancl playful times. Chilclren’s bool‹s often
personify the sun asa smiling, happy face — typically contrasted with angry, moody rain clouds. In
fact, the sun has such positive connotations that the clescriptor sunny refers not only to a state
weather but also to cheery, cheerful, or joyous’ moods and dispositions amongst humans. On the
other hand, many people fear the sun because of its association with cosmetic degeneration that can
cause people to lool‹ much older than they actually are. Even more seriously, many people see the
sun as a miller — this is because excessive sun exposure can lead to sl‹in cancer which has a very
high mortality rate. Sois the sun our friencl or a foe? The answers are complex and contradictory.
B Let’s start with the worst news about the sun. It is a
carcinogen. As the
Program Report on Carcinogens from the Department of Health ancl Human Services reports,
broad-spectrum UV radiation and solar radiation (what is known as ‘sun rays’ ) are thought to
contribute to most of the estimated 1.5 million sl‹in cancers diagnosed in the United States each
year. This gives the sun the unfavourable distinction of being the leaching carcinogen in the United
States — ahead of genetic mutations, bad diets, cigarettes, alcohol, chemical exposure and other
lifestyle factors. Of these cliagnoses, 8,000 sufferers will perish from the condition. The primary
cause of this mortality is metastic melanoma — moles that become cancerous and then spread
mutated cells into the lymph nodes ancl eventually through the rest of the body.
C Even if you are lucI‹y enough to avoid sl‹in cancer, the
have damaging effects on
your sl‹in. This is l‹nown as premature aging, so-called because sun damage mimics the sl‹in’s
natural aging process, but cloes so at a much earlier age. The sun causes premature aging by
breaking down ancl mutating collagen — a fibrous , glue - like substance that supports
and connects tissue and is responsible for the firmness, suppleness, elasticity ancl overall
of the skin. Sl‹in’s collagen procluction slows ancl eventually stops due to aging anyway, but sun
exposure accelerates this process. It also mutates collagen cells, producing visible abnormalities
the sl‹in. The slowing collagen production appears as wrinkles, sagging ancl fine lines, while the
mutated cells can tal‹e the form of a leathery skin texture, facial ruddiness and blemishes known as
liver spots. Together these can dissolve signs of youth ancl vitality from a person’s lool‹s — an
image that contrasts starl‹ly with the smooth, tannecl ancl youthful-looking moclels we often
D The sun does have a lot of positive things to offer
Firstly, it staves off Seasonal
Affecfive Disorder (SAD), an appropriate acronym for a mood disorder causecl by insufficient
to light — as such, it is typically associated with winters and is sometimes called ’winter blues’
‘winter depression’. SAD, once treated with scepticism by Health experts but now widely
acknowledgecl to be a legitimate condition, con create a number of distressing problems. Sufferers
oversleep and find it difficult to be roused in the morning, crave * comfort foods’ high in
carbohydrates, lock energy, find it difficult to concentrate and may withdraw from social exposure.
Together I?iese symptoms con lead to depression, pessimistic feelings of hopelessness and on
find pleasurable activities. Researchers are not yet sure of the exact physical mechanism thot
SAD, but they do know Eliot exposure to bright life is on effective remedy. The sun definitely has a
palliative effect Are.
E In other ways, the health-improving effects of the sun
be even more
powerful. These effects typically
relate to Vitamin D, of which the sin is a great source for two reasons. Firstly, it is completely
secondly, our bodies have natural mechanisms Ihat prevent on overdose from internally- generated
Vitamin D from the sun. Although this vitamin con be sourced from milk, cod liver oil
solar radiation is still the primary source for most humans. IFs preventative role is important:
seems to protect against prostate, breast, colon, Lidney and ovarian cancers, benefit bone health,
reduce overall mortality and the occurrence of cardiovascular evenh — mortality from strokes and
attacks is up to forly percent higher in some countries during winter months, a connection linkecl
sun exposure. In fact, skin cancer rates rise with proximity to lhe equator amongst light-skinned
lhe prognosis of most other cancers is exactly the opposite. Indeed, lhe overall benefits of sun
outweigh the risks when it comes to cancer, even though the sun is awell-clocumentedcarcinogen.
F Ultimately, moderation and protection may be lhe key
exposure. This is true ofother
carcinogens such as alcohol as welWtudies suggest that binge drinkers and teetotollers experience
levels of mony health problems than people who drink moderate amounts of alcohol on social
Healthy access fo the sun involves wearing brood-spectrum sunscreen before every exposure (even in
winter) and not staying in the sun any longer than is necessary, which is about five minutes for
Vitamin D exposure. With these simple sfeps, the sun once again becomes our friend andnot our lie.
Reading Passage 1 has six paragraphs, A-F.
Which paragraph contains the following information?
Write the correct letter, A-F, in boxes 1-6 on your answer
A description of the physical process that makes
someone look older
2 Recommendations for how to be safe in the sun
3 Examples of emotional ailments that contact with the sun can treat
4 Evidence that the sun can lower death rates
5 An explanation of how a single word can have contrasting connotations
6 Several causes of cancer
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.
Write your answer in box 7 on your answer sheet.
7 Which of the following is NOT given as a symptom of
Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage l?
In boxes 8-13 on your answer sheet, write
if the statement agrees with the information
if the statement contradicts the information
if there is no information on this
8 Sun exposure can result in SAD.
9 Experts no longer consider SAD to be a health problem.
10 Artificial sources of light are not very good at treating SAD.
11 The sun cannot give us too much Vitamin D.
12 Most people get their Vitamin D from the sun.
13 The sun can both cause and prevent cancer.