Sky600 Fo

The deadly mole, Don't Fry Day, personal melanoma stories

May 30, 2012
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. and the most common cancer among 20- to 30-year-olds. This issue of FOCUS addresses melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Editorial Director Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, MS, provides some tips for being safe while in the sun. 
By Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, MS
Sun safety is never out of season. As summer quickly approaches, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has joined the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Park Service (NPS) to emphasize the dangers of skin cancer and has provided simple steps Americans can take to protect themselves. The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention designated the Friday before Memorial Day "Don't Fry Day" as a way to highlight sun safety. "The FDA strongly recommends that consumers regularly use a Broad Spectrum sunscreen with an SPF value of 15 or higher in combination with other protective measures to more effectively protect themselves and their families whenever they are in the sun." But as mentioned, sun safety is a year-long goal, from beaches & picnics to skiing in winter or hiking in the Fall. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. and the most common cancer among 20 to 30-year-olds. Sun damage to the body is caused by invisible ultraviolet (UV) radiation. It's estimated that one American dies every hour from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Approximately 76,000 new cases of melanoma will occur this year. To help protect people's health, EPA's SunWise program, one of the nation's largest environmental and health education programs, encourages kids and their caregivers to practice safe sun habits and raises awareness about UV sunlight that penetrates the Earth's ozone layer.(1)
Here are some tips to help Americans continue to exercise, get outside and be SunWise this summer: Check the ultraviolet (UV) index anytime by downloading EPA's app (to help plan outdoor activities in ways that prevent overexposure to the sun.(2) UV rays from the sun (and from artificial light sources such as tanning beds) can lead to skin cancer. Apply a palm-full of sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher that provides broad-spectrum protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays to exposed skin about 15 minutes before heading outdoors. Reapply every two hours. Wearing protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses also prevents sun damage. Seek shade, not sun. The sun's UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so seek shade during this time. Although less common in individuals with darker complexions, skin cancer does not discriminate and is more often fatal for individuals with darker skin. Overexposure to the sun also causes immune suppression and up to 90 percent of wrinkles, brown spots, leathering of the skin and sagging. Skin Cancer Facts For Your State is available.(3) The recent case of the New Jersey (NJ) woman accused of allegedly taking her young daughter into a tanning bed and letting her has put tanning beds in the spotlight. Images of the mother have appeared in various online and TV news reports, all of them showing her with extremely burned skin. It raises questions about a serious and potentially deadly condition, an addiction to tanning. Dr. Richard Glogau, a clinical professor of dermatology at UC San Francisco, told the Los Angeles Times that this much is clear about the NJ Mother: "She's over done it.... She's used up a lot of her skin's ability to withstand UV rays. She's drained the bank."(4) Tanning-bed revenues topped $2.6 billion in 2010, thanks to the more than 27 million Americans who sought tanning in tanning beds. The American Academy of Dermatology Association opposes indoor tanning and supports a ban on the production and sale of indoor tanning equipment for nonmedical purposes.(5) Some states have moved in that direction of banning minors from using tanning beds or requiring them to get parental permission.

Regarding skin protection, not all sun creams offer the same protection against ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is divided into: UVA (Ultraviolet A - long-wave); UVB (Ultraviolet A – short wave); and UVC. UVC cannot get through the ozone layer to reach us so it isn't necessary for sun creams to protect against it. UVB radiation can cause sunburn and is linked to the development of skin cancer.

It was thought that UVA is fairly harmless to our skin; however, there is evidence that it can penetrate more deeply than UVB and may help cause cancer. Some sunscreens still don't have UVA protection. To help protect your skin from UVA, choose a sunscreen labeled broad spectrum. It is also important to choose a high factor sunscreen that will protect you from UVB. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends the use of factor 15 or higher. (6) The Food and Drug Administration has regular updates on this and a variety of other topics.(7)

And last but not least, I want to thank the incredibly brave women who are sharing their personal stories with us this month. Laura and Shannon are long time friends, and Maria is my lovely niece. Luckily all the stories have happy endings.

Happy Summer … see you at the ADHA Meeting in Phoenix!

SunSmart is a campaign run by Cancer Research UK and is supported by the Department of Health.(8)References
1. Accessed May 26, 2012. 2. Accessed May 26, 2012. 3. Accessed May 26, 2012. 4.,0,6219627.story. Accessed May 26, 2012. 5. The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA)Position Statement on Indoor Tanning. Accessed May 26, 2012. 6. Accessed May 26, 2012. 7. FDA Consumer Updates Updated May 17, 2012. 8. Accessed May 26, 2012. Sincerely,

Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, MS

To read previous RDH eVillage FOCUS introductions by Editorial Director Maria Perno Goldie, go to introductions.