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Steps for Preventing Skin Cancer

As I was watching  The Big C, the hit Showtime Original Series about living… with cancer-Melanoma, I decided to write this blog.

Melanoma is on the rise, it is the deadliest form of skin cancer if not caught early.  It is a horrible painful disfiguring disease. I know, my dad died from Melanoma which started on his scalp and metastasized though his body. He lost 1/3 of his neck to this horrible disease.

Children and you women are especially at risk.  Research also suggests that  higher income women and families are at greater risk due vanity and lifestyle.   According to the American Cancer Society Melanoma is thought to account for about 9,000 deaths per year in the United States. Many of these melanoma cases are avoidable through common sense measures such as limiting sun exposure.

The American Cancer Society has identified the following risk factors:* Unprotected and/or excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation

* Fair complexion

* Occupational exposures to coal tar, pitch, creosote, arsenic compounds, or radium

* Family history

* Multiple or atypical moles

* Severe sunburns as a child

There are many steps we can take to prevent this deadly cancer.  There is a new FDA approved technology that can aid your physician in an early  diagnosis.  Ask you physician about scanning with MoleMate, the first FDA approved skin cancer screening device.

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Recent Report on Sunscreen Safety Causes Concern

Yet another concern about cancer causing agents and the effectiveness of sunscreens…The very product that we are using to protect our skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays.  Not to be too alarmed.  This information is still under investigation.

A recent report on sunscreens by Environmental Working Group (EWG) raises some questions on the safety and efficacy of sunscreen products on the market.  The report says out  of 500 brands that were tested only 39 were recommended by EWG.  The report warns consumers to stay away from sunscreens containing the Vitamin A compound etinyl palmitate, linking this ingredient to skin tumors and growth.

Dr. Leslie Baumann, a leading dermatologist and head of the Baumann Cosmetic & Research Institute advises, “Avoid sunscreens with Retinyl palmitate.  Those with retinol are safe but a waste of money because the retinol is rapidly broken down upon sun exposure.  Use products with retinol at night instead.”

“EWG has again flagged products with oxybenzone, a hormone-disrupting compound that penetrates the skin and enters the bloodstream.  According to Dr. Baumann, there are no scientifically valid reports or studies that have shown that this is dangerous.  She advisees, “that if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have an increased risk of breast cancer, or want to be extra cautious about chemicals, avoid sunscreens with oxybenzone.  An alternative that will not be absorbed into the body are sunscreens with zinc oxide such as Blue Lizard for sensitive skin.

The bottom line: Sunscreens do not  protect you 100%. Don’t be fooled in thinking that you are getting the full SPF of any brand.  Be smart. Wear hats, protective clothing and try to avoid the sun at peak hours.  Don’t stop using sunscreens..

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