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Over the past three decades, more people have died from skin cancer than all other types of cancer combined. It is estimated that 9,730 deaths will be attributed to melanoma in 2017 alone. We all know how important it is to protect our skin while outside — whether on a hike or lounging by the pool — but do we know how safe our skin is while traveling in a car? While it is rare to get sunburn through automotive windows, harmful UV rays can still reach those on the inside.
One way to protect your skin while in a car is to apply window film to your vehicle’s windows. Every state has laws to dictate how much tinting is allowed on each window of a car.
The following chart, provided by our friends at Rayno Window Film, makes it easy to understand the state-by-state window tinting laws and regulations, and can assist you with applying window tinting to your car to help reduce sun exposure.
Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, strikes about 70,000 Americans each year and kills nearly 10,000, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sadly, many of those deaths could probably be prevented because melanoma is highly curable when caught early.
One famous example is Jamaican performer Bob Marley, who was felled by brain cancer in 1981 when he was just 36. The cancer spread from a melanoma on his big toe. It was initially misdiagnosed as a soccer injury and when the true nature of the problem was eventually discovered, his fate was already sealed, explains an article on repeatingislands.com.
Whether they play soccer, golf or baseball or just like to run, outdoor enthusiasts in Arizona are at higher risk for skin cancers because it’s easy to spend lots of time in the sun during all seasons. While most of the attention is on summer sun exposure, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends people thoroughly inspect their skin every month looking for suspicious lesions or blemishes.
If you find a mole or other skin issue that appears abnormal or causes you concern, schedule a consultation with a medical professional for a screening.
Here is some additional information about protecting yourself against skin cancer.
Sunscreen doesn’t cause cancer
Some people claim chemical ingredients in sunscreen are actually harmful and can cause cancer. But there is no research to support this idea, Wu notes. With tens of millions of people using sunscreen regularly, there would be some evidence if it were really harmful. On the other hand, countless studies document the benefits of using sunscreen.
Time your exposure
If you enjoy outdoor sports or jogging, being active at the right time of day can reduce your sun exposure.
“Try to plan your runs during hours where sun is less intense, such as early mornings or late afternoons or evenings,” advises Carly Benford. In addition to being an avid runner,
Benford is the research coordinator for a clinical trial for melanoma research at the Translational Genomics Research Institute. Benford says any abnormal changes to your skin could be a sign of skin cancer. She suggests having an annual skin exam from a dermatologist to catch any issues early.
SPF is not enough
Most people think they are protected if they use a sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF). There are two types of damaging sun rays, Ultraviolet A (UVA) and Ultraviolet B (UVB), and SPF refers only to UVB protection.
Read the label carefully because you need to make certain you use a sunscreen that also protects against UVA rays. Most dermatologists advise using sunscreen with 30 SPF or higher. Many believe higher is better, simply because people do such a poor job of properly applying sunscreen.
Dark skin is not a protection
The idea that people with tan or dark skin are not harmed by sun exposure is patently false. “Unfortunately, skin cancer is frequently diagnosed later in people of color — perhaps because of the misconception that they are not at risk — so it’s often progressed to a later stage and is more difficult to treat,” says Dr. Jessica Wu, a Los Angeles dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at USC School of Medicine in an article for Reader’s Digest.
Block the sun - Hats, Long Sleeves, Sunglasses
Even the best sunscreen allows some UV rays to get through. “Hats, sunglasses and UV protective clothing are all options, in addition to sunscreen, for protecting yourself from the damages of sun while on a run,” explains Benford. She notes many runners and other athletes don’t use any sunscreen, believing they’ll only be outside for a short time.
Source: Tgen - Translational Genomics Research Institute
Hispanic Americans are more likely than other Americans to be diagnosed with skin cancer in its later stages, when it's more apt to be fatal. One reason is the misconception that people with darker skin are immune from skin cancer, researchers say. Another is that public health campaigns tend to focus on lighter-skinned people, inadvertently reinforcing that belief.
"There is an idea among Hispanics that 'People like me don't get skin cancer,' " says Dr. Elliot J. Coups, a researcher and resident member at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. "It's true that they're at lower risk, but they're still at some risk — it's not zero risk. Hispanic individuals can be diagnosed with skin cancer."
The lifetime risk for being diagnosed with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is just 0.5 percent for Hispanics, compared to 2.4 percent in non-Hispanic whites and 0.1 percent in blacks, according to the American Cancer Society. But 26 percent of Hispanic patients with melanoma aren't diagnosed until the cancer has progressed to the late stages, compared to 16 percent of white patients. That vastly increases their risk of death.
It's not because people from Latin American countries don't realize they need to protect themselves from the sun, Coups says. Instead, his research has found the opposite – that as Hispanic people assimilate to mainstream U.S. culture, they're more likely to put themselves at risk, with behaviors including lower use of sunscreen and sun-protective clothing.
Add that to the fact that the vast majority of public health campaigns link skin cancer risk to skin tone, and it's no wonder many Hispanics think they needn't worry, says Jennifer Hay, a behavioral scientist and clinical health psychologist who treats melanoma patients at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
In 2014, Hay and her colleagues looked at skin cancer education practices in Albuquerque, N.M., where 40 percent of the city's population self-identifies as Hispanic. She found that U.S.-born Hispanics were more likely than non-Hispanic whites to report misconceptions like, "People with skin cancer would have pain or other symptoms prior to diagnosis."
They were less likely to have gotten skin-cancer screening from a physician and less likely to wear sun-protective clothing, but as likely to use sunscreen and seek shade as were non-Hispanic whites.
There needs to be an increase in culturally relevant skin cancer prevention campaigns that target ethnic minorities, Hays says. Her current research, conducted in Spanish Harlem in New York City, has found that people do want information on preventing skin cancer.
"What we found is that people are really receptive to this kind of information, but they have not had the kind of access to it that we would like to see," says Hay. "That behooves us as public health researchers to find vehicles and channels to get this information out to more populations who could benefit from it."
That's not to say that skin tone doesn't matter; lighter-skinned people still do face a greater risk. "Latinos have a wide range of skin types," says Hay. "That range of skin type is much more important than whether one self-identifies as Latino or Hispanic. You can self-identify as Latino and still have very light skin."
But Dr. Henry W. Lim, chairman of dermatology at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, says everyone, no matter their skin tone, should practice sun safety. "We should go out and enjoy outdoor activities, but we should try to seek shade and we should wear appropriate clothing to cover up," he says.
Source: Npr.org / Ellie Hartleb
Early Detection Not an Iron-Clad Guarantee
Researchers in Queensland, which has the highest melanoma rate in the world, have found that melanomas less than 1mm thick cause more fatalities than “thick” melanomas at least 4mm deep.
The findings, published in the US-based Journal of Investigative Dermatology, suggest Queenslanders are having suspicious skin markings checked out before they develop. “(But) this is not preventing people from dying,” said lead author David Whiteman. “It’s a sobering reminder that while we have been very successful at picking melanomas up early, it’s not an iron-clad guarantee.”
Professor Whiteman, of the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane, said researchers had known for decades that advanced melanomas carried poor prognoses. “The danger is proportional to how deep they are when they’re diagnosed,” he said.
“Thin” melanomas present only marginal risks to life, leading to assumptions that most melanoma deaths arise from thick lesions. But the team’s analysis of 20 years of Queensland Cancer Registry data, which took account of tumour thickness at diagnosis, revealed this was not the case.
While late-detected melanomas proved 12 times as likely to kill sufferers as those diagnosed early, the sheer number of cases — which almost doubled from about 1500 a year in the early 1990s to 2800 late last decade — meant thin tumours killed about 40 per cent more Queenslanders, on average.
Even Thin Melanoma Tumours Can Kill You
Over 15 years, this gap has grown from 24 per cent to almost 60 per cent. “We’re seeing a shift in the patterns of the people dying from melanoma,” Professor Whiteman said. “We must prevent melanomas in the first place, because once they occur, even thin ones can kill you.”
Professor Whiteman said data from elsewhere, including the US, pointed to similar trends. He said that while the incidence of melanoma in Australians aged under 40 was declining, it remained the most common cancer among the nation’s young. “That’s why we mustn’t give up on primary prevention — the ‘slip, slop, slap’,” he said. “Melanoma is almost entirely preventable.”
The Melanoma Institute of Australia says about 400 extra cases are detected each year. One in 17 Australians can expect a diagnosis by the age of 85.
Melanomas comprise just 2 per cent of skin cancers but cause three-quarters of skin cancer deaths, the institute says.
Flying increases exposure to UV rays that could cause melanoma
Airline pilots and cabin crew are twice as likely to suffer from skin cancer because of regular exposure to harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun at high altitude, US researchers said in a study published on September 3, 2014.
Analysis of 19 studies which included more than 266,000 people found that incidence of melanoma was between 2.21 and 2.22 higher for pilots and 2.09 greater for flight attendants, or more than twice the rate of the general population.
The incidence rate was attributed to ultraviolet rays filtering into planes at high altitude through cockpit windscreens and windows on the fuselage, the study’s author said.
Doctor Martina Sanlorenzo, from the University of California at San Francisco, said the study had “important implications for occupational health and protection of this population.” The study appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association Dermatology.
Twice as Powerful
Researchers reported that at 9,000 meters (30,000 feet) above sea level, the cruising altitude of most commercial jets, carcinogenic ultraviolet rays were twice as powerful.
The researchers used a measure known as standardized incidence ratio, which helps gauge whether the cancer cases observed among specific groups of people are more or less than what would be expected in the general population.
According to the National Cancer Institute, the average American has about a 2 percent risk of developing melanoma during his or her lifetime. The researchers caution that they can’t say why cabin crews may be more likely to develop melanoma. It could be due to greater exposure to solar radiation as altitude increases and the protective barrier of the atmosphere thins.
Over 3.5 million Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancers in 2014, according to the American Cancer Society. About 76,000 people will be diagnosed with melanoma, which is the type of skin cancer that is most likely to lead to death.
Source: Reuters, Pakistan Today
Image Credit: iStockPhoto
The large gray areas on the left hand image show the spread of melanoma tumors to the lung. On the right hand side, the tumors have shrunk after treatment.
Pembrolizumab hailed as 'miraculous' in skin cancer trial
A pioneering new drug appears to have cured a British man with advanced skin cancer who had been given just months to live. The drug, pembrolizumab, is the latest in a new generation of treatments that prevent cancers shielding themselves from the immune system. It was tested on melanoma - the most dangerous form of skin cancer - because the prospects for patients with advanced forms of this disease are so bleak.
Pembrolizumab is a synthetic antibody that blocks a biological pathway called programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) which cancers activate to suppress the immune system. In healthy individuals, PD-1 is part of the process that applies a "brake" to the immune system and prevents it running out of control. Without the brake, there is a risk of a harmful inflammatory reaction - a potential serious side-effect of the new drugs.
In a trial of 411 patients evaluating pembrolizumab - 69% of patients survived at least a year. This means a boost survival rates of melanoma from one in ten to nearly three in four. The result is considered remarkable because all had highly advanced melanoma and a very poor prognosis.
Currently one-year survival rates for untreated patients diagnosed with advanced stage four melanoma are just 10% for men and 35% for women.
Warwick Steele, a 64 year old television engineer from Ruislip, west London, had undergone six months of treatment with pembrolizumab, which is injected into the bloodstream. Doctors were astonished when after just three months his tumours had almost disappeared. Since then they have shown no sign of returning - and in fact have shrunk even further.
Before the treatment started he could barely walk because the melanoma had spread to one of his lungs and he found it hard to breathe. "I got tired simply standing up and was literally too exhausted to shave. But now I feel back to normal and can do gardening and go shopping", Steele remarks. Scans of his lungs - shown above - reveal that after just three infusions, the drug appears to have completely cleared the cancer from his lung.
More Trials Necessary
Doctors are urging caution. The results which have been published are of Phase I, early stage trials. Much larger Phase III trials are underway involving many UK hospitals. Only when they report, in about a year's time, can clinicians be sure what the likely benefits will be.
Like all drugs, the experimental treatments have side effects. Warwick Steele said he experienced night sweats and even had two brief blackouts when on the new drug. But he said it was well worth it, and doctors were now treating these symptoms.
Clinicians do not yet know the true extent of how pembrolizumab might affect survival. After 18 months, 62% of patients were still alive and undergoing treatment. In addition, around 80% of patients responded to the drug - an unusually high proportion. A total of 72% experienced tumour shrinkage, including 39% whose tumours were more than halved in size, according to one kind of assessment.
Additional data showed that the drug also reduced the size of advanced non-small cell lung cancers by up to 47%. Pembrolizumab's manufacturer, the pharmaceutical company Merck Sharp & Dohme, is expected to apply for a European licence to market the drug within months.
Source: The Independent, BBC News
Photo credit: BBC News
1,000 California residents will die of melanoma in 2014
Skin cancer is by far the most common form of cancer in the United States. Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined. And one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.
Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is also on the rise. The American Cancer Society reported 76,690 new cases of melanoma in the United States in 2013. Eleven percent of those cases were in California, where melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in white residents. Los Angeles County sees about 1,300 new cases of melanoma each year.
The American Cancer Society estimates that almost 1,000 California residents will die of melanoma in 2014. The most startling skin cancer data is the growing incidence of melanoma in young people. In the past 40 years, melanoma in people aged 18 to 39 has grown by 800 percent among women and 400 percent among men.
It is the leading cause of cancer death in women ages 25 to 30 and is second only to breast cancer in women ages 30 to 34.
Yet, while the threat of lung cancer has helped steer people away from cigarettes, almost no progress has been shown in the risky behaviors that lead to skin cancer. Incidence of sunburn and indoor tanning have remained the same for over a decade.
Diary of a Indoor Tanner
Sarah Tiefenthaler of Venice, CA was one of those frequent indoor tanners. When she started going indoor tanning as a high school student in Tehachapi, California, it was just for special events like prom.
Her mom signed a permission slip to allow her to tan before she was 18. By the time she moved to Los Angeles for college, she was hooked. “In college it got out of hand,” Tiefenthaler said. “I got those unlimited monthly packages and kept going to get my money’s worth. I would go every other day. It was very relaxing and I liked the way my skin looked.”
Tiefenthaler was stepping out of a tanning bed when she first noticed something odd on her skin right below her bust. She saw a dermatologist who biopsied the lesion and determined that it was basal cell carcinoma, a lesser form of skin cancer. She was able to treat the area with an ointment. A year later, when Tiefenthaler was 26, she had a spot on her thigh biopsied.
This time it was melanoma. “I never thought I would be diagnosed at 26 with something life threatening,” she said. “I really believe that both sites came from my tanning bed usage. I went so frequently, and both were in spots where you wouldn’t normally get sun exposure, even in a bathing suit.” Luckily, the melanoma was still in its early stages and doctors were able to remove it through surgery.
She now has a five-inch scar along her upper thigh.
Tiefenthaler hasn’t had any skin cancer scares since 2010. She also hasn’t set foot in a tanning salon since then.
“I immediately stopped tanning and I will never go again,” she said. “And I am always really insistent on my loved ones about staying out of tanning beds.”
Source: American Cancer Society, EasyReaderNews
Are you thinking about downloading that $5 smartphone app that claims to have the most advanced algorithm for analyzing skin lesions from a photo? Well, think again. A new study suggests that these apps are not very good at determining which ones are cancerous.
Marketed As Educational Only
The apps are marketed as educational only and so aren't covered as medical devices under the Food and Drug Administration's regulations. But that may not stop some people from relying on the inexpensive tools instead of going to see a dermatologist, researchers said - which could mean slower diagnosis of potentially dangerous lesions.
"There's no substitute, at this point, for a complete skin exam performed by an expert dermatologist for picking up melanoma as well as other skin cancers," said Dr. Karen Edison, a dermatologist from University of Missouri in Columbia who wasn't involved in the new study. “For example, even if an app makes a correct diagnosis of melanoma, that doesn't necessarily help if the patient doesn't know where to get a biopsy or doesn't have insurance to pay for it”, Edison said. "We're all for technology, but we need to keep it in perspective, and make it a tool."
Three of those apps, which cost under $5 to own, use algorithms to determine whether a lesion is likely to be cancerous or not. The fourth sends images to a certified dermatologist for evaluation, at a price of $5 per lesion.
Of the three algorithm-based apps, the most accurate still missed 18 of the 60 melanomas, mistakenly classifying them as lower-risk, Dr. Laura Ferris from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pennsylvania and her colleagues reported Wednesday in JAMA Dermatology. The dermatologist consultation app did better than the others, misdiagnosing just one out of 53 evaluable images of cancerous lesions.
All but one of the apps classified more than half of the benign, non-cancerous lesions as problematic. The researchers said they chose not to release the commercial names of the apps evaluated because their purpose was to determine the accuracy of this type of tool, in general.
In conclusion, don't waste your money on these apps. No technology can beat in-person exams to check for skin cancer. Early detection is the key.
Source: JAMA Dermatology
A new study finds that men in these groups are far more likely than women to ignore warnings to protect themselves against sunshine by wearing sunscreen or a hat. Recently, the British Journal of Dermatology published research based of 2,215 French people detailing what steps they took to reduce their risk for the sun.
Men vs. Women
The research found that men under 20 and over 64 are the least likely to heed advice about the need to minimize the harmful effects of UV radiation from sunlight. The same two groups of men also know the least about how to protect themselves from the risk they run from getting burned skin.
On the other hand, women aged between 20 and 64 displayed the most understanding of how the sun’s rays could damage their skin and were most likely to use high-factor sunscreen and to wear protective clothing. It is already known that death rates from malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, are 70% higher in men than women.
Although similar numbers of both sexes develop it – 6,200 men and 6,600 women a year – far more men (1,300) than women (900) die. Death rates are rising among men, but stable among women. Death have risen by 185% among men and 55% among women over the last 40 years, mainly as a result of the increased popularity of tanned skin, beach holidays and tanning salons.
Since this research was done in France, it may not be possible to draw all-embracing conclusions from it. Regardless, this research does show that awareness of how to prevent skin cancer is low and that everyone should be “sun-smart”by wearing sunscreen of at least SPF 30 and to seek the shade, especially in the afternoon hours where the sun is most strong.
Illinois has joined Vermont, California, Oregon, Nevada and Texas by passing legislation that prohibits minors under the age of 18 from indoor tanning. Following similar ordinances recently put in place in Springfield and Chicago, this law is based on significant scientific evidence that links indoor tanning to increased risk of developing melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. The law was passed late last year and went in effect Jan 2014.
“The American Academy of Dermatology Association is proud to have supported this legislation and commends the state of Illinois for joining the fight against skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer,” said board-certified dermatologist Dirk M. Elston, MD, FAAD, president of the American Academy of Dermatology Association. “The state’s willingness to follow the examples set by the cities of Springfield and Chicago, exemplifies a true commitment to protecting teens from the dangers of indoor tanning.”
The Illinois House and Senate passed this legislation shortly after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed stricter regulations on indoor tanning beds, as well as a strong recommendation against the use of tanning beds by minors under the age of 18.
The possible 7th State
In February of 2014, a measure to block children under 16 from using tanning salons is one step closer to becoming law in Indiana. House members approved the proposal 69-23. The Senate passed the bill in January 30-17. The bill needs to be approved by the Governor of Indiana before it will become a law.
More than 3.5 million skin cancers in more than 2 million people are diagnosed annually. It is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime and more than 2,480 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in Illinois in 2013. Studies have found a 75 percent increase in the risk of melanoma in those who have been exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning, and the risk increases with each use.
The first line of defense against skin cancer starts with you. You can catch skin cancer early by following dermatologists’ tips for checking your skin.
Click here to download a body mole map to document your self-examination and know what to look for when checking your spots. The Body Mole Map comes courtesy from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) SPOT Skin Cancer website.
When self-examining your skin, keep in mind the ABCDE's of melanoma.
A = Asymmetry
One half is unlike the other half.
B = Border
An irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border.
C = Color
Is varied from one area to another; has shades of tan, brown or black, or is sometimes white, red, or blue.
D = Diameter
Melanomas are usually greater than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, but they can be smaller.
E = Evolving
A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color.
Melanoma is the most aggressive and deadliest form of skin cancer. If not caught in the early stages, melanoma can be quite a virulent form of cancer that can spread through the body with an efficiency that few tumors possess. This form of cancer is so ruthless because melanoma is born with it metastatic engines fully engaged. This means that melanoma’s aggressive nature seeks to grow deep in the skin and spread to other locations in the body.
The good news is that if melanoma is found and treated in its early stages, it is close to 100% curable. However, once it has spread to other parts of the body, it becomes increasing difficult to treat and possibly requiring multiple surgeries and advanced treatments. The chances of survival dips to a dire 15%.
Melanoma occurs in the melanocytes, the cells that color the skin and make moles. Melanocytes are located in the lower part of the epidermis and just above the dermis. Melanocytes produce melanin, the pigment that protects the skin from ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Long exposure to UV rays damages and causes the melanocytes to mutate more frequently, potentially leading to the development of melanoma.
The Staggering Facts
A new study lead by Dorota Z. Korta, of the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, suggests that Black, Hispanic people, and other minorities tend to know less about skin cancer than whites. For the study, Korta and her colleagues surveyed 152 people who visited a dermatology clinic at a New York City public hospital.
Although the sample size for the study is small, the findings are congruent to other research that shows minorities with skin cancer tend to be diagnosed at a more advanced stage and have lower chances of survival than whites. The study was published online on the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology website.
Dr. Darrell Rigel, former president of the American Academy of Dermatology said “People of all races are equally at risk of getting skin cancer on the palms of their hands or soles of their feet - but those aren't common places for sun exposure… For other parts of the body, the chances are much less (among minorities), but you can still get it. African Americans, Hispanics and other minorities with darker skin than whites are less likely to realize that they're at risk for skin cancer.”
Many respondents were unaware of the warning signs of skin cancer: (A) asymmetry, (B) border, (C) color, (D) diameter and (E) evolving nature of a mole.
50 percent of white survey respondents answered correctly that an asymmetrical shape is a characteristic of melanoma, compared to 12 percent of minority respondents. Most other responded “I don’t know.”
71 percent of white survey respondents correctly identified changes in the size or shape of moles over time as a characteristic of melanoma, compared to 29 percent of minority respondents
Of all the participants, 16 percent had undergone a total body skin examination by a doctor to check for skin cancer. Fifteen percent said they performed self-exams for skin cancer but only 11 percent had ever been taught by a health care practitioner how to look for cancer.
Survey respondents were also asked about their beliefs regarding the purpose of skin cancer screening, and the majority of them - whites and minorities alike - incorrectly stated that skin cancer screenings help prevent the disease. The correct response is that skin cancer screenings reduce the risk of death from skin cancer.
The School of Medical Science and Technology at IIT, Kharagpur has developed a smartphone application, called ‘ClipOCam-Derma', to help physicians speed up skin cancer diagnosis. Lead by research scholar Debdoot Sheet, this innovation has recently won the ‘GE Edison Challenge 2013’ in Bangalore.
"Being a portable and affordable solution, it can be used by trained health care workers to reach out to elderly and patients in mobility restricted areas for health care delivery," Sheet said.
How It Works
Along with the mobile app, a clip-on device is illuminates the patient’s skin using a colorful flash while the smartphone’s camera captures a sequence of images. The images are then uploaded to the ‘DRICTION’ cloud computational imaging service.
The images are then processed to provide consolidated diagnostic information to skilled physicians to assess potential risks. The mobile application will assist in fast and high-precision screening of skin lesions and abnormalities such as cancers, melanoma, ulcers, psoriasis, and lypoma.
"This in effect will facilitate high-throughput screening of patients at resource constrained or remotely located healthcare centers lacking even minimal access to expert physicians, but witnessing an exponential rise in deaths related to complex skin abnormalities," Sheet said.
Accuracy and Availability
‘ClipOCam-Derma' will be launched after regulatory approvals and Sheet said tests have found it to be 99% accurate.
Note that this mobile app is only available to hospitals and trained physicians. Although there are ‘so-called’ skin cancer diagnosis mobile apps available for iPhone and Android for under $5, the accuracy of those apps is questionable.
Australian-born 45-year-old actor Hugh Jackman, famously known for his role as Wolverine in the X-Men film series, was treated for skin cancer on his nose. You can see a band-aid on Jackman's nose in the photo above.
Jackman tweeted, "I had a basil cell carcinoma. Please don't be foolish like me. Get yourself checked. And USE sunscreen!!!"
Deb said to get the mark on my nose checked. Boy, was she right! I had a basil cell carcinoma. Please… http://t.co/DESCvGR7GX
— Hugh Jackman (@RealHughJackman) November 21, 2013
Deb said to get the mark on my nose checked. Boy, was she right! I had a basil cell carcinoma. Please… http://t.co/DESCvGR7GX
Men more likely to die from skin cancer
The latest research from Cancer Center UK found that men are 70% more likely to die from skin cancer than women. Now fine after having surgery to remove the cancer spot, Jackman’s early detection could have saved his life.
New York City Dermatologist Ellen Marmur says that left untreated, his trouble spot could have been a much bigger deal. "The biggest misconception is that basal cell cancers are benign. It can metastasize--in fact, I've removed ears, lips, and halves of noses from this kind of cancer."
Marmur says it usually looks like a small pimple on the face that doesn't go away. "A classic sign is if the same spot bleeds every time you shave... Basal cell pops up most often on eyelids, nose, lips, and ears, and melanoma often shows up on men's backs and hands."
As always, follow these simple steps to keep skin cancer free:
Photo credit: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage
In addition to preventing three types of skin cancer, Queensland researchers have discovered that sunscreen shields a ‘superhero’ p53 gene that repairs UV damaged skin.
Scientists performed the world’s first molecular level human study of the impact of sunscreen confirmed that sunscreen provides 100 percent protection against all three forms of skin cancer – basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma. Skin biopsies also confirmed that sunscreen shields the p53 gene, also known as the tumor suppressor gene.
The p53 gene is responsible for proteins that can either repair damaged cells or cause damaged cells to die. However, exposure to UV can mutate the p53 gene, thus rendering it from functioning properly.
“As soon as our skin becomes sun damaged, the p53 gene goes to work repairing that damage and thereby preventing skin cancer occurring,” said lead researcher Dr. Elke Hacker, from Queensland University of Technology’s AusSun Research Lab. “But over time if skin is burnt regularly the p53 gene mutates and can no longer do the job it was intended for – it no longer repairs sun damaged skin and without this protection skin cancers are far more likely to occur.”
Fifty-seven people who participated in the study underwent a series of skin biopsies to examine molecular changes to the skin before and after UV exposure. First, the researchers took small skin biopsies of each participant’s unexposed skin. Then, a mild does of UV light was exposed to two skin spots on each participant, but sunscreen was applied only to one spot. After 24 hours, another set of skin biopsies were taken.
“After 24 hours, we took another set of biopsies and compared the skin samples,” Hacker said. “What we found was that, after 24 hours, where the sunscreen had been applied there were no DNA changes to the skin and no impact on the p53 gene.”
Hacker concludes that the study could be used to help develop post-sun exposure treatments that can repair sun-damaged skin, such as super sunscreens.
As always, remember to wear sunscreen and reapply every two hours.
Keeping your lips healthy is important year-round. We often take our lips for granted even though they play a crucial role in our speech and for identifying different types of food.
Lip cancer is a malignant tumor, or neoplasm, that originates in the surface layer cells in the upper or lower lip. Nine out of ten cases of lip cancer are diagnosed in people over age 45. As the cells in our lips get older, they lose some of its ability to repair itself. This breakdown in the repair system combined with damaging UV rays from sunlight allows for the uncontrolled growth of cells.
If a part of the lip is affected by cancer and must be removed by surgery, there will be significant changes to one’s eating ability and speech function. Men are at a greater risk for lip cancer than women, sometimes two to three times more likely. Also, fair-skinned people are more likely to develop lip cancer than those with dark skin.
Here are some tips for keeping your lips healthy, soft, and sun safe.
Use Lip Balm to Moisturize and Protect
Since your lips are exposed to the sun every day, they are highly susceptible to disfiguring and to developing skin cancer. Use lip balm or lipstick with a SPF 15 or higher. Keep in mind that your lower lip receives the most direct sunlight.
Much like sunscreen use recommendations, remember to reapply lip protection every two hours. Reapply more often if you have been eating or drinking.
Unlike the rest of your skin, lips do not contain oil glands and therefore tend to dry out and become chapped easily. Drink lots of water to hydrate your lips and avoiding licking them, which actually saps moisture.
For years, many have expressed privacy concerns over the use of body scanners at airports. However, the technology that peeks underneath our clothing has great potential for looking underneath our skin to diagnose cancer at the earliest and most treatable stages.
X-ray vs. T-rays
The most common types of airport body scanners either use X-ray or Terahertz rays (T-rays). In late 2012, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) quietly began removing X-ray based body scanners and replacing them with Terahertz based ones. Terahertz scanners, or millimeter-wave scanners, are non-ionizing and much safer than X-rays.
T-rays have the ability to look through human skin and tissue. Since it is non-ionizing, T-rays do not have enough energy to remove electrons from molecules, which means they won’t mutate our cells. Therefore, they can be harmlessly focused into our body to capture biochemical signatures of events like the start of cancer.
"We can take an image of the suspected area on the skin surface and under the skin surface at different depths to see if there is anything that looks totally different under the normal tissue," explains Dr. Anis Rahman, the chief technology officer of Applied Research and Photonics.
Detecting Malignant Melanoma
Although much more research needs to be done, T-rays show a lot of promise. The technology may be especially helpful in detecting early stages of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of cancer that starts in the deepest part of the outer layer of the skin that occurs long before people can see mole symptoms on the visible part of the skin.
Over 76,500 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in 2013 in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society.
A new study from Cancer Research UK says that more men are dying from skin cancer than women, despite similar numbers being diagnosed with the disease. Each year in the UK, malignant melanoma kills 1,300 of the 6,200 men who develop it compared to 900 of the 6,600 women… and the gap is expected to widen.
Professor Julia Newton-Bishop, a Cancer Research UK dermatologist, suspects that there are biological differences and that women are more immune to melanoma. “We’re working on research to better understand why men and women’s bodies deal with their melanomas in different ways."
"We think it is something to do with the immune system rather than hormones because pre- and post-menopausal fare the same,” she added. In addition, German researchers have identified a gene that makes men more susceptible to melanoma.
Other health experts say that the difference is because men delay seeing their doctor and thus are diagnosed more advance staged melanoma. Whereas women most often develop skin cancer on their arms and legs, men often develop the cancer on their back, making it more difficult to spot.
“Asking your partner to check your back is a good idea,” said Prof Newton-Bishop. Male incidence rates are now more than five times higher than they were 30 years ago - rising from 2.7 per 100,000 to 17.2 per 100,000.
If you notice any changes in your skin, go see your doctor. Detect the early stages of melanoma by knowing the ABCDEs. Wear sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30 and generously re-apply every 2 hours. It's not about the SPF number, but about how often and how much you re-apply your sunscreen. Order the SunBuddy® - Back Lotion Applicator to help you apply sunscreen to your back and to other hard to reach areas of your body.
Past studies have shown that taking Omega-3 fatty acids, or commonly known as fish oil, have numerous health benefits such as preventing cardiovascular disease, reducing cholesterol, improving mental health by combating depression and ADHD, reducing plaque buildup and blood blots and arteries, and preventing skin acne and wrinkles. As if these benefits weren't already impressive enough, we may soon add preventing oral and skin cancers to that list.
New evidence has recently been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by a research team from The University of Manchester in the United Kingdom demonstrating how taking omega-3 supplements may help to protect against skin cancer.
Researchers found that taking a regular dose of omega-3 fatty acids boosted skin immunity to the sun by lowering immunosuppression or sunlight-induced suppression of the immune system. Thus, our bodies are able to fight skin cancer and infection more effectively.
Researchers analyzed the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on a group of 79 healthy volunteers. The volunteers took a daily four-gram dose of omega-3 and then were exposed to either 8, 15, or 30 minutes of summer midday sun from a special light machine. This supplemented group was then compared to a second placebo group.
Immunosuppression was 50 percent in lower in the participants who took the omega-3 supplement and were exposed to 8 and 15 minutes of sun compared to placebo taking participants.
"This study adds to the evidence that omega-3 is a potential nutrient to protect against skin cancer... they suggest that a continuous low level of chemoprevention from taking omega-3 could reduce the risk of skin cancer over an individual's lifetime."
– Dr. Lesley Rhodes, lead study author
Another group of UK researches from Queen Mary, University of London, grew lab cultures of several different skin lines – malignant oral and skin cancers, pre-malignant cells, and normal skin and oral cells. When researchers carried out in vitro tests by adding fatty acids into the cell cultures, results showed that omega-3 fatty acids induced cell death in malignant and pre-malignant cells while not affecting normal cells.
"We found that the omega-3 fatty acid selectively inhibited the growth of the malignant and pre-malignant cells at doses which did not affect the normal cells."
– Prof. Kenneth Parkinson
Unfortunately, our bodies cannot synthesize omega-3 and most of us don’t get enough of it in our diets. So, it's a good idea to take a supplement. Nutrition experts recommend a daily intake of 1,200 to 2,400 mg (combined DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids).
Here are some foods that contain high levels of omega-3
We hope to hear more on this topic soon!
Although the FDA says there isn’t enough evidence to suggest products containing Vitamin A or its derivatives are harmful, Canadian health authorities and groups such as the EWG (Environmental Working Group) are concerned that the additives increase sun sensitivity. In particular, they have proposed sunscreens containing retinyl palmitate, a Vitamin A derivative, to carry a warning saying they can increase the possibility of sunburn for up to a week.
Furthermore, Canadian health authorities go on to say to “please limit sun exposure while using this product and for a week afterwards.”The sunscreen industry adds Vitamin A to beach and sport sunscreens, daily face sunscreens, and SPF-rate makeup products and lip balms. Vitamin A is an anti-oxidant that is believed to slow skin aging and studies of Vitamin A’s carcinogenic properties raised the possibility that is may speed the growth of tumors on the skin when exposed to sunlight.
Despite evidence that Vitamin A can trigger carcinogenic activity, the FDA has delay taking action on restricting retinly palmitate in sunscreens in favor of ordering additional studies. Thus, regulatory action may be postponed indefinitely.
Be safer than sorry - take EWG’s advice and “avoid sunscreen and skin products with retinyl palmitate until the industry can prove it is safe for sun-exposed skin.”
Infographic courtesy of NorthWestPharmacy.com | Buy Health Care Safely
Skin Cancer is the most common form of cancer. Of cancers in the United States, a staggering 50% are skin cancer. The sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage unprotected skin in as little as 15 minutes. Yet it can take up to 12 hours for your skin to show the full effect of sun exposure. Be smart. Be educated. Protect your skin.
Given how aggressively media outlets have pushed awareness of breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer over the past few years, it is astonishing that skin cancer is actually the most prevalent cancer in America. If fact, the number of skin cancer cases diagnosed annually is greater than breast, colon, lung, and prostate cancers combined. Yet, compared to other common cancers, there is a lack of awareness for skin cancer.
Skin cancer is divided into the non-melanoma and melanoma categories. Non-melanoma, in the form of basal cell and squamous cell skin cancer, is the more common form with around 2 million cases diagnosed last year in this country. Melanoma, the more serious type of skin cancer, attributes to over 75 percent of all skin cancer deaths and is the number one cancer for the age group 25 to 29. One American dies of melanoma every hour.
Here are some staggering facts about Melanoma Skin Cancer:
Summer is quickly approaching and here are some sun safety tips:
Each year, there are more new cases of skin cancer than breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer incidences combined. Stop thinking melanoma and skin cancer only happens to other people and that if you get it, it is trivial to remove. Remember to wear sunscreen daily and to reapply every 2 hours or so.
If you need help applying sunscreen to your back and to other hard to reach areas, use the SunBuddy Lotion Applicator. It's compact, foldable, discrete, and can mean the difference between healthy and cancerous skin.
Myth: It's just a small melanoma mole. Just cut it off and I’ll be fine.
Reality: This may be true for basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers that begin on the surface of the skin, but no so for melanoma. Melanoma occurs deep in the skin and can spread via the blood stream to major vital organs. Once the melanoma mole is removed, you may be still at fatal risk and may need advanced treatment.
Myth: If I get a small melanoma mole and have it removed, my skin will heal really fast.
Reality: Inches of skin around the melanoma site may need to be removed, often times leaving a long scar several inches long. Melanoma can deeply penetrate your skin, requiring the doctor to cut down all the way to the bone and leaving a concave hole that is visible even after the area has healed.
Myth: Only older people get skin cancer.
Reality: One in five Americans will develop skin cancer if the course of a lifetime. Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old.
Myth: Skin cancer usually appears on your back and shoulders.
Reality: This is true for men, but the most common site for melanoma for women is on the lower legs. Another common area for skin cancers is the face and hands, where the skin is thin.
Myth: A "base tan" protected your skin.
Reality: There is little evidence that this is true. Any tan at all is a sign of skin damage and there is no such thing as a safe tan.
Myth: I need some sun or I'll be Vitamin D deficient.
Reality: While it is true that the sun synthesizes Vitamin D in our skin, too much sun exposure can break it down. Rather than taking the risk and soaking up direct sunlight without sunscreen, doctors recommend 1,000 IU of Vitamin D daily and recommend consuming foods high in D, such as salmon, eggs, and fortified milk or taking a D supplement.
Myth: SPF 100 offers twice the protection of SPF 50.
Reality: The FDA is promoting the SPF cap to be 50. SPF 50 blocks 97 percent of UVA radiation, and there is little to no data that proves an SPF over 50 is more effective.
Myth: It's a cloudy or overcast day, so I’m not at risk.
Reality: This is not so. Although the UVB rays that make you feel hot and burning may be minimized, UVA rays are still full force no matter the weather. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen.
Myth: Awareness has gone up and people aren’t getting skin cancer.
Reality: Melanoma has been on the rise in recent years and so has the use of tanning booths. One American dies of melanoma every hour and younger and younger people are developing skin cancer. In fact, melanoma is the second most common form of cancer in 15-29 year olds and the most common form in 25-29 year olds.
Myth: People with darker skin do not get skin cancer.
Reality: It is true that darker skinned people face a lower risk of skin cancer. However, they are more likely to die from it. Since darker skinned people do not easily burn, they have a false sense of security and often overlook early warning signs of skin cancer.
The ad above is produced by the Cancer Institute NSW and tells the true story of a 26 year old young man who died of melanoma in March 2010. Wes was just like any other "normal young guy" and loved being active outdoors. He covered up the best as he could and never went to the beach intending to get a tan.
"Wes was a gentle and private person, mindful of taking care of himself," his parents said." He spent lots of time outside but he was always mindful to protect himself from the sun and wore hats, sunscreen and the appropriate clothing."
When Wes was 23 years old, he was diagnosed with melanoma of 1.4mm (0.05 inch) on his neck. Even though the melanoma was cut out, it had already spread to Wes' bloodstream and eventually, it spread to his brain. "I just thought, you know, you get it cut out, you'll be fine," said Wes' brother. "You see that many ad campaigns about skin cancer and melanoma, you sort of take notice, and you just think it's never gonna happen to you."
Wes' story closely reflects that melanoma is the most common cancer in 18 to 39 year olds. In all age groups, twice as many men men as women die of the disease.
Australia has the highest incidence of melanoma in the world and it is a particular problem for men. According to the Cancer Council Australia, more than twice as many men than women die from skin cancer (1297 compared with 600 women in 2010-11). Young men are more likely to think their risk of skin cancer is low.
We here at SunBuddy, thank Wes Bonny's parents and brothers for sharing their story to help save others from the same fate.
Indoor tanning exposes both UVA and UVB rays that damage the skin and can lead to cancer. People who begin tanning younger than the age of 35 have a 75% higher risk of developing melanoma.
Data courtesy of skincancer.org, cdc.gov, and melanoma.com.
Melanoma (mel•a•no•ma): A highly maglinant type of of skin cancer that arises in melanocytes, the cells that product pigment. Melanoma usually begins in a mole.
You can follow 3 simple steps to reduce your risk of skin cancer
To detect the early stages of melanoma, look for moles or growth that:
If you notice one or more of these signs, immediately visit your dermatologist or healthcare provider. If detected at a very early stage, melanoma can be cured with surgery 90% of the time.
Math and Cancer
Although there are numerous types of cancer, the definition is the same - a growth caused by abnormal and uncontrolled cell division. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States.
Each year, more than:
The skin is the largest organ of our body. Although it's delicate, our skin works hard to combat the elements working against it.
Skin cancer forms in the tissues of the dermis and there are several types. The most common forms of skin cancer are basal cell and squamous cell cancer. Although these cancers are serious, the most dangerous form of skin cancer is melanoma.
Each year, 70,000 Americans are diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer.
Melanoma skin cancer
This skin cancer forms in melanocytes (skin cells that make pigment) and can occur on any skin surface. In men, it's often found on the head, neck, or back. In women, it's often found on the lower legs or back.
Basal cell skin cancer
This skin cancer forms in the lower part of the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin) and is typically found in areas exposed to the sun. It's commonly found on the face and is the most common type of skin cancer among people with fair skin.
Squamous cell cancer
This skin cancer forms on squamous cells (flat cells that form the surface of the skin). It's usually found in places that are not exposed to the sun, such as legs or feet and is the most common type of skin cancer among people with dark skin.
Looking at Numbers
In a recent study by the American Cancer Society, the overall number of cancer incidences and death rates has decreased. However, in the past 30 years melanoma cancer incidents have increased rapidly. Most recently the increases have occurred among young white women between the ages of 15 - 39 years (3% per year since 1992) and white adults 65 years and older (5% per year for men since 1985 and 4% per year for women). Melanoma skin cancer primarily affects white adults and the occurrence rate for whites is ten time higher than in blacks. Among whites, rates are more than 50% higher in men than in women.
Melanoma is responsible for 75% of skin cancer deaths and an estimated 8,790 deaths in the U.S. annually. Of those deaths, two-thirds are men.
You don't need to cutout sunlight or the outdoors to lower your risk of skin cancer. The best way to decrease your risks of skin cancer is education and practicing sun safety. Here are some helpful tips:
Avoid the following:
Use the following:
The Fall season is approaching, but that does not mean UV rays from the sun are less strong. Don't be fooled by the cooler weather and 'weakened' sunlight - this is all a false sense of security. The sun is still as strong as ever.
Considering this summer was the third hottest on record, and we need to continue to protect our skin and allow it to recover. Some skin cancer spots begin as benign, but then develop into cancer after continued exposure to the sun. Also, be sure to keep track of those innocent looking dark circular moles that may have been on your skin for years. If you notice any change or growth, be sure to see your dermatologist.
According to Dr. Kleine, "Skin cancer is increasing, perhaps due to the effects of our stronger sun and perhaps because of other environmental factors. It's important to protect your skin all year round."