WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO CONVINCE THEM?…SOME MELANOMA SURVIVORS STILL NOT PROTECTING THEMSELVES FROM THE SUN!

(CNN 4/9/13).
 
Yale University research of 171 Melanoma survivors shows that up to 25% of them currently still don’t stay in the shade or use sunscreen, and 2% still use tanning beds!
 
SOMEHOW A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF MELANOMA SURVIVORS ARE EITHER NOT HEARING THE DANGERS OF UV EXPOSURE OR ARE NOT HEEDING THE WARNINGS THAT THEY RECEIVE. THERE ARE ATTEMPTS FROM THE AAD TO INVESTIGATE HOW DERMATOLOGISTS CAN DO A BETTER JOB AT THIS, BUT WE CAN ALL START EDUCATING OUR OWN FAMILIES ABOUT HARMFUL UV RAYS AT AN EARLY AGE, I THINK.

Wear Sunscreen in the Office? Maybe?

How much time in the sun do you need to stay healthy?

Sunlight is beneficial. It gives us Vitamin D, prevents insomnia, and wards off depression. It also causes skin cancer, cataracts, age spots, and wrinkles. So find out how much of a good thing you really need!

 

Ultraviolet B light is strongest 11:00am to 4:00pm. It gives you sunburn, but doesn’t pass through glass or reflect off surfaces.

 

Ultraviolet A light is very tricky! It does not cause sunburn, but still causes aging, tanning, and skin cancer. It does not have peak hours, but is strong all day. It can reflect off of sand and water, and injure you while you are in the shade. It can pass through office windows and some car and airplane windows. Therefore, sunburn is not an adequate way to judge if you have been exposed to too much sun.

 

So how much sun exposure/radiation is safe?

There is no way of exactly predicting this, but the consensus is 10-15 minutes of midday sun, three times a week without a sunscreen is more than enough to maintain Vitamin D levels and still keep safe.

 

Again, it depends on your situation. If you suffer from skin cancer, is very fair, or battling hyperpigmentation you would err on the side of caution.

 

So, the answers to these questions are…

 

Do you need sunscreen?

  1.  Sitting in the shade…………for the most part yes! Remember the power of UVA Rays.
  2.  Taking a long car trip (cloudy or sunny day) ……the answer is yes, especially if your windows are not specially tinted for UVA/UVB protection.
  3.  Sitting directly in front of an office window all day….the answer is yes. Unless you are several feet away.
  4.  Remember mountain vacations expose you to up to 10% more sun damage and radiation because the air is thinner, even on cloudy days.
  5. Early morning or late evening exercises…yes, still apply sunscreen. Unless it is dark and pesky. UVA light is strong at 12:00 noon as it is at 6:00 pm.

So have fun in the sun- but just be smart about it.

RESEARCH CONFIRMS THAT SUNSCREEN CAN PREVENT MELANOMA

(J Clin Oncol. Posted online December 6, 2010) It may seem like captain obvious – but I hope this motivates patients to use proper sunscreen and reduce the melanoma cancer rate by a whopping 50%.

 

Researchers at the University of Queensland have reported the results of a study, which confirms that individuals who are diligent about regular sunscreen use are much less likely to develop melanoma. Researchers studied 1,600 Australian adults, beginning in 1992. The participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group received standard advice to use sunscreen, and the other group was given sunscreen along with detailed instructions and supervision for 4 years. A decade after the trial ended, only 11 of the supervised patients developed melanoma, as opposed to 22 who only received standard advice about sunscreen and protective clothing.

 

The researchers reported that, in addition to the 50 percent reduction of melanoma, the risk of invasive melanoma was reduced by 73 percent.

CAN A SUNTAN PROTECT YOU FROM SUN DAMAGE?

 Visiting a tanning salon for “base tan” will NOT protect your skin from DNA (cancer) injury.

(Pigment Cell Melanoma Research 02/2011) People with darker skin (such as African ancestry) tend to be much less susceptible to ultraviolet (sun) induced DNA damage (skin cancers) than those with lighter skin (such as Northern European ancestry). So many people have believed that tanning before full outside sun exposure can protect lighter skin against UV sun damage. Many individuals use tanning beds in a misguided effort to protect their skin from sun damage. Recent findings indicate that tanning beds, which use mostly UVA rays, do not afford any protection against subsequent DNA (cancer) damage. Therefore, you may get less sunburn by using a tanning bed before your vacation, but you have increased your chances of skin cancer. Better advice would be to buy a nice hat and some good sunscreen and use it!! Remember UVB may cause a burn, and the UVA in tanning beds may not, but it causes as much if, not more sun damage and future risk of cancer.

WIDESPREAD USE OF INDOOR TANNING BY ADULTS

Age is no guarantee of wisdom

(Archives of Dermatology 12/2010) More than 30 MILLION people use tanning beds in the U.S. each year despite the fact that the World Health Organization has designated tanning beds as cancer causing. Researchers have suggested that the increasing incidence of Melanoma and non-Melanoma skin cancers is due to the use of tanning beds, especially in young people.

 

More women than men used tanning beds, and women persisted using them into their 50′s, and men into their 40′s. Regular sunscreen use was inversely associated with the use of tanning beds among women but not men. People who used artificial tanners were also more likely to use tanning beds. Only 13.3% of women and 4.2% of men believed that avoiding tanning would reduce skin cancer. These surprising findings indicate that tanning bed use is still prevalent among adults. Fewer than 1 in 7 women and 1 in 19 men even believed that tanning beds could cause cancer!!

 

We must increase our efforts to inform adults and young people about the cancer risks of tanning beds and dispel the notion of their benefits (such as increasing Vitamin D, and providing a protective “base” tan- -please see DO TANS PROTECT?). WHY INCLUDE THIS BORING ARTICLE NOW??- BECAUSE LAST WEEK WE DIAGNOSED AN ADVANCED STAGE MELANOMA IN A YOUNG WOMAN WHO ISN’T EVEN 21 YRS OLD, AND WHO WAS ADDICTED TO TANNING BEDS. IF WE CAN PREVENT THIS IN EVEN ONE MORE PERSON, IT IS A BLESSING.

THE CHEESE SHOULDN’T STAND ALONE

(CNN, EWG 5/11) With the new FDA guidelines on sunscreens, many agencies are advising you to remember that sunscreens alone cannot prevent skin cancer.

 

Don’t forget about staying in the shade, using protective clothing such as wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses with UVA/UVB protection, and trying to avoid sun at the peak hours of 10 am to 4 pm.

 

A recent analysis of random beach/sport sunscreens showed that only 5 out of 600 met the new FDA guidelines …AMAZING!!!!

 

Also, watch when using spray sunscreens- they don’t cover as completely as lotions and can cause you to inhale unhealthy chemicals.

Be especially watchful of this around young children.

 

WOULD YOU BUY SUNSCREEN THAT ADVERTISES, “PROTECTS AGAINST SUNBURN BURN BUT NOT AGAINST SKIN CANCER AND SKIN AGING”?

FDA (6/11). The FDA just released new guidelines for sunscreen labeling.

Despite the explosion of sunscreens, there has also been an explosion of skin cancer. Melanoma has increased by 45% from 1992 to 2004, and it is now the most common form of cancer in young people in their late 20′s.

 

Now all sunscreens that are not really effective will have to advertise that they protect from sunburn but not skin cancer and aging.

 

At this point, statistics show that 20% of all Americans will develop a skin cancer in their lifetime.

 

Sunscreens that advertise SPF 100 may also be banned, as anything over 30 or 50 SPF doesn’t really make a difference except to be more expensive and expose you to a higher concentration of chemicals than you need.

FDA GUIDELINES IN A NUTSHELL

  1. Buy a BROAD SPECTRUM sunscreen, meaning it must protect you from both UVA and UVB rays.
  2. Buy at least a 15 SPF. Most doctors would disagree with this and say you need a 30 SPF, but remember that going up to a 50 or even a 100 doesn’t really make any difference.
  3.  No sunscreen can say water or sweat proof, only water/sweat resistant, meaning if you are in serious sun you will need to reapply.
  4. Think about using “physical” sunscreens (zinc/titanium) rather than “chemical” ones. The reasons are that, physical sunscreens act like a mirror; they work almost immediately and don’t tend to weaken as quickly. Chemical sunscreens can take a while (30min) to be activated by the sun, and some of them can lose 60% of their power in 60 minutes because they rely on a chemical reaction which will naturally wear itself out.

YOU ARE ADVISING ME TO DO WHAT….YOU MUST BE KIDDING??

(American Academy of Dermatology, Chicago Tribune 7/11). Skin cancer of the scalp is not common, but because hair can obscure it from diagnosis, it can become more advanced. The AAD has advised that there are sunscreen agents formulated for the scalp (YUCK! THINK MOST PEOPLE WOULD OBJECT TO PUTTING EXTRA PRODUCTS INTO FRESHLY COIFFED HAIR), or they suggested changing the part of your hair often   (DITTO! THINK MOST PEOPLE WOULD HAVE AESTHETIC OBJECTION TO THIS).

 

THE BEST AND MORE PRACTICAL SOLUTION IS TO ASK YOUR HAIR STYLIST/BARBER OR FAMILY MEMBER TO CHECK YOUR SCALP, AND ASK IF THEY HAVE SEEN ANY UNUSUAL GROWTHS OR MOLES. ALSO WEARING A PROPER HAT IN THE SUN THAT OFFERS PROTECTION AGAINST THOSE UV RAYS IS A GREAT AND EASY SOLUTION.