Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

There Is No Such Thing As A Safe Tan: GW Researchers Break Tanning Misconceptions

Blue Ultraviolet Light Lamp

Blue Ultraviolet Light Lamp (Photo credit: epSos.de)

From the 24 July 2012 article at Medical News Today

A new study conducted by GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) researchers Edward C. De Fabo, Ph.D., Frances P. Noonan, Ph.D., and Anastas Popratiloff, M.D., Ph.D., has been published in the journal Nature Communications. Their paper, entitled “Melanoma induction by ultraviolet A but not ultraviolet B radiation requires melanin pigment,” was published in June 2012.

“This is the first time that UV-induced melanin formation (tanning), traditionally thought to protect against skin cancer, is shown to be directly involved in melanomaformation in mammals,” said De Fabo, who is professor emeritus at SMHS. “Skin melanoma is the most lethal of the skin cancers. Our study shows that we were able to discover this new role for melanin by cleanly separating UVA from UVB and exposing our experimental melanoma animal model with these separated wavebands using our unique UV light system designed and set up at GW. Dermatologists have been warning for years there is no such thing as a safe tan and this new data appears to confirm this.” ..

..

“Also new is our discovery that UV induction of melanin, as a melanoma-causing agent, works when skin is exposed only to UVA and not UVB radiation. This is especially important since melanoma formation has been correlated with sunbed use as many epidemiological studies have shown. One possible reason for this is that tanning lamps are capable of emitting UVA radiation up to 12 times, or higher, the UVA intensity of sunlight at high noon. Melanin plus UVA is known to cause photo-oxidation, a suspected, but still to be proved, mechanism for the formation of melanoma as we describe in our study,” De Fabo said. 

July 25, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Cancer Tracking Goes Mobile – Free UMSkinCheck Mobile App

[Reblog from Taubman Health Science Center Newsblog]

Cancer Tracking Goes Mobile

July 12, 2012 by irinazey

The sun is definitely shining brightly outside – do you know how your skin is affected?

University of Michigan Medical School and University of Michigan Health System have developed a free app to photograph your skin and monitor any suspicious moles or lesions in an effort to make skin cancer screening cheaper, faster, and more convenient for the average person.

Screenshots from UMSkinCheck

Under the supervision of lead developer Dr.  Michael Sabel, UMSkinCheck walks you through a full-body skin self-exam, lets you track moles/lesions for change over time, and set up notification reminders for recurring self-exams. It also comes loaded with information on sun safety and a risk calculator to help determine individual risk based on personalized data.

Read the full story from UMHS here or download the app free from the iTunes storehere.

On a related note, from A blog I follow ,As Our Parent Age- Timely Topics for Adult Children

“Yet another friend has skin cancer. She always used sun blocking lotions, but also enjoyed staying out in the sun for long periods. (I have her permission to write this much.)
My friend tells me that she now understands that sun blocks, no matter how effective or powerful, are only one piece of a skin protection puzzle. Staying out of direct sunlight during the the most intense times of the day is another large puzzle piece.”

This is a good blog to follow, I can’t express it any better than what the author states on the about page

 “As Our Parents Age is my effort to record the experiences of loving and living with aging parents, but it is also a vehicle to help my husband and me understand and learn more about aging parent caregiving. I am highlighting interesting issues, identifying high quality web resources, and sharing memories. Other posts are on topics that my husband and I would have liked to know more about at the beginning of our foray into the aging child – aging parent phase of life.”

July 14, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , | 1 Comment

[Infographic] Killer Sunshine

From the post at InsuranceQuotes

If you’re like most people, chances are you’ll take any opportunity to throw on a pair of shorts and soak up a little vitamin D. Summer is the season for taking advantage of every opportunity you can to be outdoors, and while you’re enjoying the weather, you’re also probably happy to work on achieving a nice golden tan while you’re at it. But through all of the barbecuing, swimming, hiking, and good old fashioned sunbathing, it might just slip your mind to lather on a little SPF 40. When it comes to enjoying the great outdoors, it’s in your best interest to make sure that you do so with the proper protection. Skin cancer rates have skyrocketed in recent years, and while popular culture dictates that a beautifully bronzed body is the ultimate summertime achievement, the obsession with having a great tan is also having some scary health effects. While other cancer rates decline, fatalities from skin cancer continue to rise, and most people don’t realize just how much their risk increases with too much sunshine. While a little dose of golden rays is good for you, most people take that to an extreme, and the impacts of long-term tanning can be more deadly than they realize. The following infographic looks into the causes and effects of the rising skin cancer rates, and it might make you think twice before skipping out on the sunscreen.

Skin Cancer Infographic

July 12, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

9 skin signs for a yearly visit to the dermatologist

Title: Pathology: Patient: Melanoma Descriptio...

Title: Pathology: Patient: Melanoma Description: This slide shows a melanoma on a patient’s skin. Subjects (names): Topics/Categories: Pathology — Patient Type: Black & White Print. Color Slide Source: National Cancer Institute Author: Unknown photographer/artist AV Number: AV-8500-3850 Date Created: 1985 Date Entered: 1/1/2001 Access: Public (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the 9 May 2012 article at KevinMD.com

Visiting your dermatologist every year may be an important step to staying skin cancer-free. So, how do you know if you should schedule that annual appointment?

The answer depends on how likely you are to get skin cancer. Do you fall into one of these groups? Then, it’s time for a skin check-up.

1.  Red hair and freckles. If you’ve got red or blond hair, fair skin, freckles and blue or light-colored eyes, you‘re more likely to get skin cancer. But, that doesn’t mean darker-skinned people don’t develop skin cancer too.

2.  More than 50 moles. If you’ve got a lot of moles, you need regular skin checks. Doing this will help your doctor stay on top of unusual mole changes….

Read the rest of the article here

Seek prompt medical attention if you notice any unusual changes that don’t go away after two weeks.

What are the signs and symptoms of skin cancer?

[From Learn about Cancer American Cancer Society]

Skin cancer can be found early, and both doctors and patients play important roles in finding skin cancer. If you have any of the following symptoms, tell your doctor.

  • Any change on your skin, especially in the size or color of a mole, growth, or spot, or a new growth (even if it has no color)
  • Scaliness, oozing, bleeding, or change in the appearance of a bump or nodule
  • The spread of pigmentation (color) beyond its border, such as dark coloring that spreads past the edge of a mole or mark
  • A change in sensation, such as itchiness, tenderness, or pain
On a related note (via Sun Safety: Save Your Skin (US FDA)

Slip! Slop! Slap! Wrap!

Don't Fry Day - (LOGO)The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has designated the Friday before Memorial Day as “Don’t Fry Day.” The goal?  To make sure people stay safe in the sun and protect their skin while enjoying the outdoors—on “Don’t Fry Day” and every day.

Here’s why. Skin cancer is on the rise in the United States; the American Cancer Society estimates that one American dies every hour from skin cancer. In 2012 alone, the American Cancer Society estimates there will be more than 76,250 new cases of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.

“Don’t Fry Day” offers simple steps that you and your family can take to prevent sun-related skin cancer, such as:

  • Slip on a shirt
  • Slop on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher
  • Slap on a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Wrap on sunglasses.

For more information on resources available for “Don’t Fry Day” and skin safety, visitwww.skincancerprevention.org disclaimer icon .

May 18, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health Education (General Public) | , , | Leave a comment

   

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