Category

SunAWARE

SunAWARE

While Melanoma Treatments Advance, Prevention Remains Key

Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, isn’t going away. In fact, The National Cancer Institute previously estimated in 2011 that 70,230 people would be diagnosed with melanoma and 8,790 would die of melanoma of the skin. While two major melanoma treatment advancements have made headlines over the past year, it’s even more important to remember that the best way to fight this disease is prevention.

When caught early, melanoma can usually be cured with surgery alone, but once it metastasizes, treatment options become limited. According to the American Cancer Society, the 5-year survival rate for stage IV melanoma is about 15% to 20%. Yervoy™ (Ipilimumab) and Zelboraf™ (Vemurafenib) are two new late stage melanoma fighting drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011. Yervoy is the first melanoma drug to receive FDA approval in 13 years. It’s also the first proven treatment to extend overall survival for late stage melanoma patients. “Yervoy may offer many patients a 2-year survival advantage, with a smaller percentage of patients being virtually cured,” claims the Skin Cancer Foundation’s (SCF) report the new drug.

B-RAF
Crystallographic structure of B-Raf (rainbow colored, N-terminus = blue, C-terminus = red) complexed with vemurafenib (spheres, carbon = white, oxygen = red, nitrogen = blue, chlorine = green, fluorine = cyan, sulfur = yellow). Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:3OG7.png

According to the SCF, Zelboraf, approved later in the year by the FDA, is the first targeted genetic therapy of its kind to treat advanced metastatic melanoma patients whose tumors have a specific mutation in the BRAF gene that’s present in 40-60 percent of melanomas. While both drugs represent a step towards a cure for melanoma, in most cases, these treatments only extend the life of advanced stage melanoma patients, and a cure for melanoma has yet to be discovered.

Even though melanoma, in particular late stage, is difficult to treat once it occurs, the good news is that skin cancer, including melanoma is preventable in many cases. Over exposure to UVA and UVB rays produced by the sun or artificial ultraviolet light (i.e. tanning beds) can form genetic mutations in the skin, which leaves those who have burned or tanned susceptible to all forms of skin cancer later in life. UV radiation is considered the main cause of nonmelanoma skin cancers (NMSCs), including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. The SCF says NMSCs strike more than 250,000 Americans each year. Experts also believe UV radiation may also cause melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

By protecting yourself from UV rays (both artificial UV from tanning beds and naturally occurring UV from the sun) and performing routine skin checks, you’ll not only help reduce the incidence of skin cancers, but improve your overall skin appearance and health. Skin sun damage is cumulative, so there is still time to grab a bottle of SPF 30 broad-spectrum sunscreen, a wide brim hat, UV sunglasses and look into adding sun protective clothing to your wardrobe.

Photo credit: anolobb

2 Comments
Avoid UV & Seek Shade Success Stories Wellness Warriors

Doc Learns the Hard Way to Avoid Tanning

Some stories are so powerful they need to be retold.  This blog was written by Dr. Jessica Sparks Lilley, a pediatrician who learned the hard way that the risks of getting melanoma from using a tanning bed are real! Please do not use tanning beds.  Please do not allow your children to use tanning beds.  Help pass legislation to ban the use of tanning beds by minors.

“As a pediatrician, I have dedicated much of my life to improving the health of children—thirteen years of formal training after high school, to be exact.  I’ve worked thirty hour shifts every other day, delayed my dream of having children of my own, and moved across the country for the best learning opportunities.  Amid this grueling schedule, during my second year of residency I noticed in a bleary-eyed post-call shower that a mole on my chest had changed a little.  I recounted the “ABCDs” of skin cancer—asymmetry, borders, color, diameter—and my mole was only a little larger than a pencil eraser with more heterogeneity than I remembered (meaning that it was a mix of brown and black rather than just all brown).  When I finally made an appointment with my internist (again, post-call—can’t be choosy when you work eighty hours a week), he brushed my concerns aside and refused to even look at it, instead writing out a referral to dermatology.  Six months later, the opportunity to see a dermatologist finally arose, and I found myself standing in the specialist’s office that February morning to find that the referral had never made it.  My medical training had kicked in and caused a bad feeling in my gut about the mole, so I called my internist’s office from the waiting room and even cried on the phone to get them to help me.  After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, the referral was processed and the physician’s assistant worked me into her schedule—the suspicious mole was off to pathology within fifteen minutes, and I received the call two days later that I was right to be worried—that mole represented an early-stage melanoma.

I was in my parents’ living room when I got the call.  I had traveled from Philadelphia to Mississippi for vacation.  I will never forget the way my mother cried when she overheard me asking questions about whether sentinel node mapping would need to be part of the diagnostic work-up.  I only required a wider excision, which was done that very week and (praise God!) showed no signs of metastasis.  As I sat in doctors’ waiting rooms and even as I was walking back to the operating room, I mulled over the same regrets—why did I ever step foot into a tanning salon?

The first time I went to a tanning bed, I was fifteen years old and trying to get a little “color” to look good in a dress I found to wear in a beauty pageant.  I bought eight visits, heard nothing of the risks (which were largely unknown at the time), never burned, and actually thought it was fun to have the fifteen minutes of quiet rest.  I had to beg my parents to let me go, and the owner of the tanning salon was quick to tell my mother that indoor tanning was much safer than tanning outside.  The strongest argument against the behavior in high school I heard was a bad urban legend about a girl who “fried her ovaries” by tanning.  You’d think that I would have been hesitant to step inside a device that looked like a coffin, had a dial like an oven, and was cleaned with only a dilute cleaning solution by other tanners.  Alas, I went about ten times a year after that for various reasons—prom, pageants, and even my wedding—despite being able to draw a picture of the pyrimadine dimers I was forming in my DNA as a result of UV radiation!  Strangely, I wore sunscreen and rarely went outside, especially as my training intensified.  The first time I thought seriously about never going back was after my first pathology lecture dealing with melanoma and the strong emphasis on UV radiation as a cause of skin cancer; I considered it again when a friend was caring for a patient with metastatic melanoma during our third year of medical school and lovingly warned me that I was putting my health in danger; but because I started tanning at a young age, the behavior seemed safe to me.  I rationalized tanning in every way imaginable.  After I graduated medical school, I vowed to never return lest I set a bad example as a physician.  My last tanning visit was April 24, 2007, about a week before my wedding…and two years before the cancer diagnosis that changed my life.

I am continuing to devote my life to the health of children now as an advocate to ban tanning in minors, just as we regulate other known carcinogens like tobacco.  We know that younger DNA is more vulnerable to dangerous mutations and that teens don’t yet have the cognitive skills to judge long-term ramifications of their actions.  We also understand now that any indoor tanning before the age of 35 increases the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 75%!  I am appalled that I have friends who continue to go, reasoning that tanning “isn’t that bad” and is their “only vice” and “something they do for themselves.”  I’m infuriated that some idiot doctors perpetuate the myth that sun exposure is healthy and the lie that tanning beds are a good source of vitamin D.  That’s absolute hogwash.  I’m a fellow in pediatric endocrinology and know that much better sources of vitamin D are available without the side effect of deadly cancer!

I shudder to think of what would have happened to me if I hadn’t detected my melanoma early.  Late-stage melanoma is almost always fatal.  Treatments like interferon have horrible side effects and don’t save everyone.  I no longer feel safe in my own skin and feel that the quality of my life has been impacted by the fear that my cancer will recur.  The fact that melanoma is the most common form of cancer death in my demographic (25-29 year old women) is astounding, and it is unfortunately on the rise in association with more young women with a history of indoor tanning.  It’s humiliating to recount my story—I should have known better—but I hope to teach everyone who will listen three important take-home points:

1. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever indoor (or outdoor) tan!  A tan is evidence of skin damage and potential DNA mutation that can lead to cancer.  There is no such thing as a safe tan!

2. If you are worried about something with your health, there may be a reason.  Talk to your physician, and if he or she doesn’t listen, find someone who will.

3. Finally, take time to take care of your health.  We have all made an idol/status symbol out of “busyness” to the detriment of our well-being.  If you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will.

As part of my crusade, at least one later stage melanoma has been diagnosed and countless friends and acquaintances have stopped tanning.  I will keep telling my story to anyone who will listen to defeat this often preventable cancer.”

Jessica Sparks Lilley, MD

A post shared by our friends at SunAWARE.

4 Comments
Educate Others SunAWARE

What is Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer is cancer that forms in the tissues of the skin, as defined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). So when you hear about the most common types of skin cancer which include basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, what does it really mean? What are the differences between these types of skin cancers?

Skin cancers occur if there’s uncontrollable growth of abnormal cells in the epidermis (outer layer of skin). The type of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma or melanoma depends on the types of cells the cancer forms in.

Basal Cell Carcinoma:
If skin cancer begins in the basal cells, which produce skin cells that continuously push older cells toward the surface, it’s known as basal cell carcinoma. Basal cells are found in the lower part of the epidermis. This is the most common form of skin cancer accounting for an estimated 1 million of the over 1.3 million cases of skin cancer diagnosed each year according to the CDC. This type of skin cancer is usually easy to treat.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma:
Cancer that forms in the squamous cells, the flat cells that form the surface of the skin, is called squamous cell carcinoma. According to the CDC, squamous cell carcinoma accounts for about 16 percent of diagnosed skin cancer cases each year. While this type of skin cancer can be treated in most cases, if untreated it can be fatal.

Melanoma:
Skin cancer that forms in pigment cells (melanocytes) is melanoma. Melanoma is the least common form of skin cancer, but it’s also the deadliest because it tends to metastasize or spread throughout the body when not detected early.  

Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are also referred to as nonmelanoma skin cancers to differentiate them from melanoma. Anyone can get basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, regardless of skin color. Factors that may increase your risk are: age, cumulative ultraviolet radiation exposure, where you live and complexion.

When looking at melanoma specifically, the exact cause has yet to be determined; however, researchers argue that certain risk factors increase a person’s chance of developing melanoma including: abnormal moles, having more than 50 normal moles, fair skin, personal history of skin cancer, family history of melanoma, weakened immune system, severe sunburns and ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure.

Take a personal quiz to see what your risk of developing skin cancer is and what you can do to help prevent it at the National Cancer Institute’s website: http://understandingrisk.cancer.gov/a_skin/02.cfm

Watch a video on the differnt types of skin cancer and how to help prevent them: http://video.about.com/dermatology/Skin-Cancer.htm

References:
Sun Protection for Life by Mary Mills Barrow and John F. Barrow (2005)
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/medical/IM02400
http://www.cancer.gov/dictionary?cdrid=445084
http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/index.htm
http://www.healthonlinezine.info/what-is-skin-cancer-what-causes-skin-cancer.html

1 Comment
SunAWARE

Snowboarders and Skiers Take Cover

TRUE or FALSE – you’re more likely to sunburn in a snowy landscape than a grassy plain. Think about it. Ultraviolet rays from the sun reflect off of shiny surfaces such as sand, water and SNOW! When walking into any ski resort chalet you’ll notice bright red faces of snowboarders and skiers fresh off the hill. Now the only question is, are the rosy cheeks and nose from windburn or sunburn?

Snowboarders and skiers have to protect themselves from more than frostbite. UV radiation exposure increases 8 to 10 percent every 1,000 feet above sea level, so if you’re snowboarding down the slopes of Breckenridge Ski Resort in Colorado, you could be starting your descent at almost 13,000 feet above sea level. By 13,000 feet, UV radiation exposure increases 104 to 130 percent! Then add the fact that snow reflects up to 80 percent of the UV light from the sun, and you’ve got UV coming from all directions. The combination of increased elevation and UV rays reflected by the snow puts skiers and snowboarders at an increased risk of sun damage, which can lead to premature aging and skin cancer later in life.

While wearing sunscreen on the snowy slopes can offer sun protection, snow and wind can reduce its effectiveness. Avoid sunburn (and perhaps even windburn) this winter and take some advice from the Skin Cancer Foundation.

  • Cover your head – it will protect your scalp and help keep you warm.
  • Wear items like ski masks, which will leave very little skin exposed to the wind and sun.
  • Sunglasses or goggles that offer 99 percent or greater UV protection and have wraparound or large frames will protect your eyes, eyelids and the sensitive skin around your eyes, which are common sites for skin cancers and sun-induced aging.
  • If possible, ski early in the morning and later on in the day, before 10 AM and after 4 PM. This decreases the amount of time spent outdoors in the most intense sunlight and it may also help you avoid long lines.
  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Apply 30 minutes before hitting the slopes. Using a moisturizing sunscreen with ingredients like lanolin or glycerin can soothe skin while protecting. Apply sunscreen liberally and evenly to all exposed skin – at least a teaspoon to the face. Reapply every two hours, and immediately after heavy sweating.
  • Always wear a lip balm with an SPF 15 or higher – lips are very sensitive.

Wishing you a sucessful and SunAWARE season on the slopes!

Coolibar employee Amanda and her boyfriend Josh snowboarding in the Black Hills
No Comments
Sun Protection Clothing Wellness Warriors What our customers say

For Women with a Sense of Adventure – Travel Sun Shirt Review

Soft Adventure Travel, the fastest growing segment of the exploding travel industry, is rewarding for the spirit and intellect, yet is safe and without excessive physical demands. Linda Ballou, author and soft adventure travel writer, has hiked, biked, kayaked and horse-backed through untouched country. Most trips are with a reliable guide, but often she explores alone seeking the sustenance from nature that can only be found in solitude.  With a degree in English Literature and a published author for over twenty years, Linda’s well-researched articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Northwest Travel, Specialty Travel Index and she’s the LA Outdoor Travel Examiner .

Linda knows a thing or two about the importance of carefully preparing for every excursion, including sun protection. “Since I am a ‘booming boomer’ in the most likely demographic to develop skin cancers, I really must pay attention to sun-protection,” says Linda. “It’s so important that I plan to write an article on the subject in my column on the National Association of Baby Boomer Women site in January. I hope to spotlight the Coolibar Women’s Travel Sun Shirt, which contains a built in sun scarf for additional coverage on tender chest skin, and the need for sunscreen with zinc oxide as well as a wide-brimmed hat along with other skin saving tips.”

Linda also shares her thoughts about her favorite Coolibar Travel Sun Shirt and sun protection accessories she uses. Strolling the sands of Malibu, hiking the trails in the Santa Monica Mountains, river rafting and horseback riding, I need strong sun protection. I am thrilled to have this ‘Sunsational’ Coolibar Travel Sun Shirt in my wardrobe. It is light as a summer’s breeze and is sophisticated enough for street wear, but sturdy enough for outdoor activities. I live in Southern California and spend a good deal of time at the beach or hiking on the trails. This shirt is perfect for my sunny clime,” says Linda.

Linda Ballou, Expert Travel Writer

We asked for Linda’s opinion on our aire SUNTECT® fabric, which her shirt is constructed with. “My favorite feature of the fabric is the light airy feel. Plus it needs no ironing after washing. I’m glad a fabric that makes me feel so feminine can stand up to the rigors of an active outdoor life. I would give the fabric a 10 (on a scale of 10 being great to 0 being horrible) for hot weather hiking. For cool weather, I might opt for my flannel shirt, but that does not have sun protection. The fabric also didn’t stick to my skin like polyester tends to.”

“Other sun protection accessories I use include a hat and sometimes fingerless gloves. I love my Sedona Hat. It is sturdy and wide-brimmed and really does keep the burning rays off my face. The chin strap keeps in on in the strongest winds. The fingerless gloves are just the ticket for river rafting when hands take a beating from wind, sun and water. You do not lose mobility while gaining much needed protection against the elements,” says Linda.

To read more about Linda Ballou’s adventures, visit her blog and website.

 http://lindaballoutalkingtoyou.blogspot.com/

http://www.lindaballouauthor.com/

To view the sun protection items Linda takes on her adventures, click any of the following links:

Coolibar Women’s Travel Sun Shirt
[nggallery id=26]

Coolibar Sedona Sun Hat
Coolibar Fingerless Aqua Gloves

1 Comment
SunAWARE Videos

Does a Tan Make you More Beautiful?

According to a recent survey by the American Academy of Dermatology, the answer is “yes” for many teens and young adults in the United States.  When asked if they think people look more attractive with a tan, a large percentage of respondents (66 percent) answered yes, especially indoor tanners (87 percent).

The survey found that a vast majority (86 percent) of Caucasian teen girls and young women who tan indoors do so for the sake of vanity despite knowing the health risks.  Young Australians, on the contrary, have begun to shift their perceptions on beauty and tanning.

The Aussie tan is officially no longer cool. At least not among the 12-17 year old age group who’ve grown up with the slip, slop, slap message.  New research by the Cancer Council has revealed young Australians are rapidly changing their attitude towards tanning, with fewer than ever seeking the bronzed look.  The council’s national sun protection survey conducted last summer shows the preference for a suntan among 12-17-year-olds has steadily dropped to 45%, proof that a public health campaign can be effective.

Below is the well-known Australian Slip!Slop!Slap! advertisement from the Cancer Council Victoria with Sid the Seagull, launched in the 1980’s. Just say these simple words – slip, slop, slap. Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat.

 

 

No Comments
Educate Others Events Inside Coolibar

Help Us Give the Gift of Sun Protection Education

Sun protective habits developed in childhood promote a lifetime of healthy skin. Giving a child the gift of sun protection education is as easy as ‘liking’ the Coolibar Sun Protective Clothing Facebook page. For every Coolibar Facebook page ‘like’ (a.k.a. fan) we receive in December, we’ll donate a SunAWARE book to the Children’s Melanoma Prevention Foundation

‘Like’ us now to give a child a SunAWARE children’s book and help support our cause! Just click the ‘like’ button below.

No Comments
Inside Coolibar Sun Protection Clothing What's Hot

2011 Coolibar Gift Guide for Life Outdoors

QUESTION: Do you need to find a gift for …

a. A family member who spends a lot of time outside?

b. A girlfriend who obsesses over her skin and owns oodles of cosmetics?

c. A parent with small children?

d. A friend who lives to garden, bike, hike, climb, fish, run, walk, camp, swim, surf, golf, farm, surf, sail, travel and participate in a never ending list of outdoor activities?

If you answered YES to any of the above then we strongly suggest you proceed reading!

While the holiday season may not have you thinking about sunny beaches and or long afternoons on the golf course, we’ll bet everyone on your list would love a gift that’s associated with that carefree feeling. Sun protection is a gift everyone needs (and we’re convinced would want if they knew about it). Wide brim hats and sun protective clothes are not only practical for easy sun coverage, but over the years, these items have been recognized by both fashion editors and outdoor athletic communities for their style and performance. So, maybe not everyone on your list knows about sun protective clothing. Well, here’s your chance to show the one’s you love how smart and thoughtful you are.  Sun protective clothing is not only easy, comfortable and a health conscious move, but there are a range of styles and features so fashionistas and fitness enthusiasts alike can take on the outdoors in their own style.

If you don’t know where to start for a someone who’s new to UPF clothing, here’s our ideas:

Our Customer’s Favorite Coolibar Basics
Click on the first image to browse our gift ideas.

[nggallery id=25]

Find the perfect Coolibar piece for that special person on your list.

HAPPY SHOPPING!

www.coolibar.com

Santa Letter Photo Credit: katerha

No Comments
SunAWARE

Does the Ozone Hole Affect Your Health?

In the upper atmosphere, about 6 to 30 miles above Earth, naturally occurring ozone protects life from the sun’s ultraviolet B radiation (UVB). This is known as the stratospheric ozone. Over decades, it has been damaged by cumulative pollutants including motor vehicle exhaust and industrial emissions, gasoline vapors, chemical solvents as well as natural sources. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), nontoxic, nonflammable chemicals containing atoms of carbon, chlorine, and fluorine, which were once used as refrigerants and in spray cans, have been pinned as the main culprit. Over the past 20 years, a significantly depleted layer of ozone known as the ozone hole has formed over the Antarctic. This ozone loss imposes a serious health threat for humans, in particular our skin and eyes.

“The more damage there is to the ozone layer, the more UVB rays that reach our bodies,” claims Dr. Herman and Dr. Newman, atmospheric physicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Both UVB rays and UVA rays cause DNA damage in the skin that can lead to skin cancer, premature skin aging, cataracts and other eye conditions. Exposure over time can also weaken the immune system. The good news is that world political and environmental leaders are working together to address this issue.

Since 1987, over 150 nations have gradually signed the Montreal Protocol, which now prohibits the production of ozone-depleting CFCs. After over two decades of international collaborations to restore Earth’s sun protective layer, studies are showing a gradual decrease in harmful CFC levels in the atmosphere. Presently, the ozone hole is no longer expanding and evidence suggests it’s on the mend.  According to Dr. Herman and Dr. Newman, scientists currently estimate that stratospheric ozone levels in the northern mid-latitudes will recover by 2050 and polar levels by 2065, which could significantly reduce the incidence of ultraviolet radiation exposure health related issues for future generations.

It will take time for the stratospheric ozone to recover. Luckily, we  have options to protect our skin, eyes and health by taking a holistic approach to sun protection starting today. SunAWARE’s advice: First, avoid unprotected UV exposure and seek shade when possible. Keep in mind that UV doesn’t flow in one direction. It is able to bounce off surfaces, molecules and particles, so even when you’re under an umbrella, UV can still reach you.  Second, wear sun protective clothing, wide-brim sun hats and UV sunglasses. These items are your best defense to keep UV from penetrating your skin and eyes. Next, apply SPF 30+ broad-spectrum sunscreen everywhere clothing doesn’t cover. This practice should be included into your daily regimen in order to decrease the repercussions of cumulative UV skin damage. Finally, routinely check your skin for suspicious changes and see a dermatologist if you notice anything. Pass on this wisdom and educate others about the need for sun protection.

Resources:

http://www.nzdoctor.co.nz/news/2011/november-2011/01/uv-index-replaced-by-alert.aspx

http://www.epa.gov/glo/

http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/10/21/scientist-speaks-out-after-finding-record-ozone-hole-over-canadian-arctic/

http://www.epa.gov/airtrends/aqtrnd95/stratoz.html

http://ozonewatch.gsfc.nasa.gov/facts/hole.html

http://www.skincancer.org/ozone-and-uv-where-are-we-now.html

1 Comment
Expert Rx Sun Protection Clothing Videos

“The Doctors” on Basal Cell Carcinoma and Prevention

On Tuesday, October 24, 2011, “The Doctors” TV show aired a segment nationwide about a new skin cancer treatment for basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer. This treatment option uses low doses of radiation on a targeted area to kill the cancer cells, going no deeper than the skin. Only a few dermatologists are offering this non-surgical treatment for basal cell carcinoma opposed to micrographic surgery, the current standard for treatment, which can take hours to perform.

Seth Forman, M.D. practices dermatology in Tampa, FL and demonstrated the procedure on his patient Betty for the show. From patient Betty’s perspective, the treatment is like having an x-ray – it’s painless and over within 45 seconds. She will need multiple treatments to destroy her cancer – 12 times over a 4 week span.  There are no shots, no blades, no bleeding, no stitches, not even a band-aid.

Watch the “Low Dose Radiation Treatment” segment from “The Doctors.”

To find out more about low dose radiation and other treatment options for basal cell carcinoma, visit http://www.skincancer.org/bcc-treatment-options.html.

Dr. Drew Ordon, an expert on “The Doctors”, also took advantage of the opportunity to talk about prevention.  His advice:

1) Try to avoid daytime sunlight, between the hours of 10-4 avoid mid-day sun.

2) Sunscreen, Sunscreen, Sunscreen – at least SPF 15, we recommend [broad-spectrum] SPF 30 and to be generous with application using a shot glass full and re-apply every two hours.

Finally what you can do is…

3) Wear protective clothing – UPF 50+, it blocks both UVA and UVB rays and is a great way to go because you can’t get sunscreen everywhere.

1 Comment