Melanoma Monday

The American Academy of Dermatology designates the first Monday in May–Melanoma Monday. Its simple purpose is to increase public awareness about Melanoma. Melanoma is a very aggressive form of skin cancer and occurs when uncontrolled growth of pigment producing cells spread rapidly to other areas of the body. Melanoma is less common than other skin cancers, but if not detected early it is 75% more deadly.

Facts:

  • Over 2 million cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed this year.
  • One in five Americans will contract skin cancer during their lives.
  • While many common cancer rates are falling, the melanoma rate continues to grow at a rate faster than that of any of the seven most common cancers. Between 1992 and 2004, melanoma incidence increased 45%.
  • One bad sunburn in childhood doubles the risk of melanoma later in life.
  • Those who use tanning beds a handful of times per year in their youth risk up to a 75% higher likelihood of developing melanoma in their lifetimes.

No tan is worth your life!

What can you do today?

  1. Find a free skin cancer screening in your area!
  2. Learn and practice healthy sun-protection habits–everyday! A few easy ones to remember are; seek shade during 10am-4pm when the sun is at its highest point, wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, gear-up with a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and uv-protective clothing.
  3. Conduct your own regular Skin Cancer Self-Exam:

selfExam

 

4. Wear traditional black or…

 

Currently, there is a lot of controversy over what color to wear today to honor those battling Melanoma and our Melanoma Angels. Some people will choose to wear black (the traditional color of Melanoma awareness) and some people will choose to wear orange. Wearing orange is the color being promoted by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD)  for their SPOT Orange on Melanoma Monday campaign. For those who traditionally honor their loved ones with black it has come as an insult to the Melanoma community, but the AAD is hoping that the bright orange color will really call attention and bring awareness to a disease that has claimed so many lives. It is your choice to wear black or orange, or both!

 Bringing awareness to the signs and prevention of Melanoma and skin cancer is the ultimate goal. 

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Preparing your child (and yourself) for a Dermatologist Appointment

The number of Caucasian children 18 and under (as young as 2-years-old) who develop Melanoma is on the rise. From 1973-2009 more than 1200 children were diagnosed with Melanoma. Diagnoses like these have shown an increase of 2% a year. Melanoma is an the most aggressive form of skin cancer. If caught early there is a good chance of survival, but if left to spread it can be deadly.

What could cause childhood Melanoma?

  • Sun sensitivity disorders
  • Mom-to-infant transmission
  • Tanning bed use (teens 14-18 years old)

Sometimes children can develop Melanoma or skin cancer because they exhibit some of the high risk factors; a large number of moles, family history, fair-skinned, and blue eyed. As with most illnesses sometimes there is no reason at all. No matter the cause, early detection is important. Children (as well as adults) should have a yearly Dermatologist appointment. People with a family history of Melanoma and atypical moles should be examined every 3 to 6 months. Children in these families should have their first exam by the age of 10. 

Treat a Dermatologist  appointment like a yearly Pediatrician wellness check-up.

Steps to a successful Dermatologist appointment:

  • Talk with your child about who a Dermatologist is; let them know that a Dermatologist is a doctor who knows a lot about skin and how to keep our skin healthy.
  • If you don’t have a Dermatologist the American Academy of Dermatology provides a quick and easy Derm Finder.
  • When contacting your doctor to arrange a total body skin examination, you should request an appropriate amount of time for the appointment with the scheduler.
  • At the time of arrival, when placed in the room, and when first greeting the doctor, you should make your desire for a total body skin examination known, including a request for a gown if one is not provided.
  • During a skin cancer checkup or “screening,” your doctor will probably discuss medical history and inspect your child’s skin from head to toe-even areas that don’t get any sun. If your doctor performs only a waist-up exam, inform him/her that you would like a complete skin exam.
  • Your doctor will record the location, size, and color of any moles.
  • If a mole looks unusual, he/she may arrange for a biopsy.

doctor-with-patient-child

Through out this whole process you (as a parent) have the option to be present during the appointment, ask questions and to voice your concern. 

Studies have shown that doctor’s instructions may help young people understand that sun exposure and tanning harms the skin. The message of sun safe habits should begin early and the message should  be frequent.

Source: Aim at Melanoma

September Skin Cancer Self-Check

The American Academy of Dermatology wants everyone, no matter of  your age or race, to make it a habit of giving yourself yearly self-examinations to safe-guard yourself against skin cancer. Melanoma makes up only 3% of all skin cancers, but is the deadliest. It’s only by early detection and  practicing safe sun protection habits that you can protect yourself and family!

Remember!:

  • The sun’s ultraviolet rays are strongest during the midday hours (10 a.m.-4 p.m.); exposure at these times should be limited or avoided.
  • When outdoors, cover as much skin as possible with a hat that shades the face, neck, and ears, and a long-sleeved shirt and long pants.
  • Sunscreen comes in various strengths, graded by the solar protection factor (SPF). It is recommended to use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.
  • Also, because of the possible link between severe sunburns in childhood and greatly increased risk of melanoma in later life, children, in particular, should be protected from the sun.

The first melanoma symptoms often are:

  • A change in an existing mole, or
  • The development of a new, unusual-looking growth on your skin

But melanoma can also occur on otherwise normal-appearing skin. And melanoma can occur in places that aren’t even exposed to the sun! Such as the soles of your feet, palms of your hands and on fingernail beds.

When giving yourself, friends or family members skin-examinations here is what you should look for:

How to Perform a Skin Self Check!

Unusual moles that may indicate melanoma Characteristics of unusual moles that may indicate melanomas or other skin cancers follow the A-B-C-D-E guide developed by the American Academy of Dermatology:

  • A is for asymmetrical shape. Look for moles with irregular shapes, such as two very different-looking halves.
  • B is for irregular border. Look for moles with irregular, notched or scalloped borders — the characteristics of melanomas.
  • C is for changes in color. Look for growths that have many colors or an uneven distribution of color.
  • D is for diameter. Look for new growth in a mole larger than about 1/4 inch (6 millimeters).
  • E is for evolving. Look for changes over time, such as a mole that grows in size or that changes color or shape. Moles may also evolve to develop new signs and symptoms, such as new itchiness or bleeding.

Other suspicious changes in a mole may include:

  • Scaliness
  • Itching
  • Change in texture — for instance, becoming hard or lumpy
  • Spreading of pigment from the mole into the surrounding skin
  • Oozing or bleeding

(Source: Mayo Clinic)

If you are concerned about melanoma, see a dermatologist well qualified in their diagnosis and request an exam.

Find FREE Skin Cancer Screenings in your area!

Melanoma Monday

The American Academy of Dermatology designates the first Monday in May–Melanoma Monday. Its simple purpose is to increase public awareness about Melanoma. Melanoma is a very aggressive form of skin cancer and occurs when uncontrolled growth of pigment producing cells spread rapidly to other areas of the body. Melanoma is less common than other skin cancers, but if not detected early it is 75% more deadly.

Facts:

  • Over 2 million cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed this year.
  • One in five Americans will contract skin cancer during their lives.
  • While many common cancer rates are falling, the melanoma rate continues to grow at a rate faster than that of any of the seven most common cancers. Between 1992 and 2004, melanoma incidence increased 45%.
  • One bad sunburn in childhood doubles the risk of melanoma later in life.
  • Those who use tanning beds a handful of times per year in their youth risk up to a 75% higher likelihood of developing melanoma in their lifetimes.

No tan is worth your life!

What can you do today?

  1. Find a free skin cancer screening in your area!
  2. Learn and practice healthy sun-protection habits–everyday! A few easy ones to remember are; seek shade during 10am-4pm when the sun is at its highest point, wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, gear-up with a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and uv-protective clothing.
  3. Conduct your own regular Skin Cancer Self-Exam:

Use this chart below to use while you do your regular inspection to detect changes in its appearance. Look over your entire body, including your back, your scalp, the soles of your feet,  between your toes and the palms of your hands. See a dermatologist immediately if you notice anything suspicious.

 You can also join us through out the whole month May in honor of Skin Cancer Awareness month as we take on a challenge to gift 7,500 baby UV Skinz swim shirts. Our 5th annual “Save A Baby’s Skin” campaign donates a special edition 12/24mo Baby Skinz “What’s A Sunburn” swim shirt with every order purchased! It is our hope that no child should ever know what a sunburn is or what one feels like. Protecting our children from becoming the one in five Americans who will be diagnosed with skin cancer within their lifetimes starts from day one! 

“Like” us on Facebook to learn more about the campaign, access special coupons, and WIN some UV Skinz gear!

UV Skinz Spreading Sun Protection Awareness at the 70th Annual AAD Meeting

Over this past weekend the Founder of UV Skinz, Rhonda Sparks, and the UV Skinz team have been busy spreading the word about the importance of sun protection and skin cancer awareness for our children at the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) 70th Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA. This is the second year that UV Skinz has exhibited at the AAD Meeting.  “Dermatologists are on the front line of the fight against skin cancer and skin damage and UV Skinz provides a fun, easy and hip solution for doctors to recommend to patients of all ages,” explains Rhonda Sparks, Chief Executive Officer and President of UV Skinz. Sparks adds, “We want to help raise awareness about the need for effective sun protection. While our products only require one application for all day UPF 50+ protection, blocking over 98% of the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays, most sunscreens require multiple applications for the same period of protection and may not include protection from UVA rays.”

Darker Skin Doesn’t Grant Immunity to Skin Cancer

With Black History Month coming to an end I can say that it has been a busy month! While children have been learning about Martin Luther King, Jr and equality, adults mostly still go about the month as usual–giving no second thought to the perceived importance of the month. The overall importance is awareness. Anyone disagree? It’s awareness of our history as Americans and for African-Americans, awareness about heritage and health. Awareness about the dangers of skin cancer and melanoma are above all the most important  because skin cancer rates have been on the rise among minority groups in the U.S.

Many people with darker skin tones believe that the pigmentation in their skin protects them from skin cancer. This is not true at all. I (being African-American) used to think that I didn’t need sunscreen, because my skin didn’t “burn”–it just got darker. Now I know that to be false. The pigmentation cells do provide a natural SPF of 13 and even so, everyone should protect their skin with at least an SPF 15 broad spectrum sunscreen. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests an SPF 30 if you will be out in the sun for longer periods. According to Dermatologist, Dr. Charles E. Crutchfield, III, “Pigmentation doesn’t give you a free pass.”

Without a “free pass” people with darker skin should take the same precautions as their lighter skinned counterparts. There is a misconception about the dangers of skin cancer for people of color and they are often diagnosed at later stages, which can be deadly. Another factor in the late diagnosis is that the skin cancer usually develops in unusual locations such as nasal passages, palms, soles of the feet, toenails, fingernails and mucous membranes around the mouth and genitals. These forms of skin cancer are called acral lentiginous melanoma–the type of melanoma that took the life of reggae performer, Bob Marley. These types of skin cancers also don’t always follow the rules of ABCDE.

So, what should you look for?

  • Changes that may include brown or black colored stripes under the nail.
  • A spot that extends beyond the edge of the nail.
  • A mole or unusual spot on the palms of hands and feet that bleeds.
Most sun safety precautions are targeted towards lighter-skinned, blue-eyed people with freckles. Remember that skin color doesn’t matter. Everyone can get skin cancer. Here are some precautions that everyone can take into consideration the next time you step outside.
Simple Sun Safety Advice: 
  • Wear sunscreen! Use a broadspectrum sunscreen of at least an SPF 30 that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Develop an awareness of the moles on your body and be alert for new or changing moles!
  • Avoid the direct sunlight when the rays are the strongest between 10am-4pm.
  • If you must be outdoors during those times–seek shade!
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
  • Wear sun protective clothing like UV Skinz uv-protective wear!

“It doesn’t matter what color your skin is, everyone can get skin cancer.” ~Dr. Charles E. Crutchfield, III

Source:

http://www.skincancerinfoline.com/skin-cancer-african-americans.html

http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/05/29/race.skin.cancer/index.html

School Receives Grant For Shade Canopy

Palm Beach Gardens Elementary School students returned to school to discover a 12-by-12-foot blue canopy covering one of their play structures. With Palm Beach Gardens being on of the first schools in the district to develop a sun-safety policy as part of a partnerships with the Melanoma Foundation it took grants and fundraising to erect the canopy. They utilized the help of board member John P. Kinney, dermatologist, and help from the Richard David Kann Melanoma Foundation. The canopy cost $16,000 that was partially paid for by $8,000 grant from the American Academy of Dermatology. The grant and fundraising efforts took several years, but now through the dedication of all involved the children can enjoy their playtime without worry of over-exposure to the sun.

 

Does your school need a canopy? My daughter’s school sure does! Contact the American Academy of Dermatology to get more information. If anyone else has a similar story–please share!