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Study finds aspirin may help prevent melanoma

Reducing your risk for melanoma by 20 percent could be as easy as popping aspirin, at least if you’re a woman over age 50. A new study in the journal Cancer looked at melanoma in 60,000 post-menopausal Caucasian women. Over a 12-year period, women who took aspirin twice a week or more had a 20 percent lower risk of developing melanoma, the most progressive form of skin cancer.

The results applied to aspirin use only and not other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen.

Before aspirin can be prescribed to patients at risk for melanoma, clinical trial testing must be performed. Additionally, pain relievers increase a user’s risk of bleeding and pose other potentially serious side effects. The only proven method of skin cancer prevention is avoiding UV exposure and using sun protection (a wide brim hat, sunscreen and sun protective clothing).

Currently, researchers plan to do follow-up studies in younger women and men.

As always, talk with your doctor regarding your health concerns.

Disclaimer: The information provided by Coolibar and its contributors is general skin care information and should not be a substitute for obtaining medical advice from your physician and is not intended to diagnose or treat any specific medical problem.

Resources: CBS News; FOX News; NPR

Photo credit: Wikipedia

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Routinely Check Skin SunAWARE

A Valentine’s Day Gift That Shows You Care

If you share a close bond with your significant other, you may want to consider giving them a skin exam this Valentine’s Day and asking them to do the same for you.

Melanoma and non-melanomas can be tricky to spot on one’s own skin, especially on the scalp and back. For men in particular, one third of melanomas are found on the back. Men are also much less likely to examine their own skin, and studies have shown that when skin cancer is found at an early stage, it is most often detected by a spouse or partner. Studies have also shown that couples who check one another for skin cancer tend to do so more thoroughly than people who perform skin self-exams alone.

If you find a suspicious spot on your spouse, urge them to see a dermatologist right away for proper diagnosis. Melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, the three most common types of skin cancer, are treatable when detected early. So help ensure you and your valentine are around for many Valentine’s Days to come.

Skin Cancer Warning Signs from the Skin Cancer Foundation

– A skin growth that increases in size and appears pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black, or multicolored.

– A mole, birthmark, beauty mark, or any brown spot that: changes color, increases in size or thickness, changes in texture, is irregular in outline, is bigger than 6mm or 1/4”, the size of a pencil eraser, appears after age 21

– A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab, erode, or bleed.

– An open sore that does not heal within three weeks.

Look for any of the warning signs when you perform a self-exam. If you notice any change in an existing mole or discover a new one that looks suspicious, see a physician immediately.

To find out more about how to spot a skin cancer and for information on self-exams, visit www.skincancer.org/Self-Examination/.

Reference: The Skin Cancer Foundation. 

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SunAWARE What's Hot

Minnesota’s rising skin cancer rates reflect a national trend

Minnesota’s skin cancer rates are going up, according to the Minnesota Department of Health, and Minnesota is not the only state seeing more skin cancer cases. Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger says the national incidence of melanoma has been on the rise since the mid 70s. Officials are urging the public to avoid the sun all year long and stay out of tanning beds.

The department says melanoma rates rose 35 percent for men and 38 percent for women between 2005 and 2009 in Minnesota. Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. According to the Mayo Clinic, the exact cause of melanoma isn’t clear, but exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight or tanning beds increase a person’s risk of developing melanoma. Adversely, limiting UV exposure can help reduce a person’s chances of getting melanoma.


SunAWARE advice

More on Minnesota’s Rising Melanoma Rates and Melanoma:

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/01/30/health/melanoma-rates

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/melanoma/DS00439

http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/health/189051661.html?refer=y

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Routinely Check Skin What's Hot

Are skin cancer apps harmful?

Earlier this month we discussed the growing role technology plays in the fight against skin cancer. In fact, we’ve created a pin board, highlighting some of our favorite apps.

Now, in light of a recent study published by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, there is a growing concern for the accuracy of the apps that are meant to detect skin cancer. Four smartphone apps were evaluated on their ability to determine whether moles have morphed into cancerous melanomas. The results ranged from 98.1% accuracy to only 6.8%. If consumers are relying on their smart phone alone to diagnose their health issues, this inaccuracy poses a big problem.

The Wall Street Journal reports, “Health-app makers include disclaimers warning patients that they don’t mean to diagnose anything. ‘We’re not saying this replaces a practitioner,’ said Avi Lasarow, co-founder of the Mole Detective app, which uses algorithms to gauge mole risk but plans to add a physician-referral feature. ‘We’re saying, this is a way you can look to determine whether you might have a problem,’ he said.”

Most consumer health apps haven’t yet been required to demonstrate their safety and efficacy through the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA said in a statement that the UPMC study results “reinforce the importance of consumers talking with a health care professional before making any medical decisions” because of the seriousness of melanoma, and that addressing mobile apps is a top priority at the agency.

What do you think, are skin cancer detecting apps helpful or harmful?

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SunAWARE

3 Personal New Year’s Resolutions to Stay Skin Cancer Free in 2013

When thinking about your 2013 New Year’s Resolutions, consider making a conscious effort to prevent skin cancer in 2013. Yes, skin cancer is preventable in many cases. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people are diagnosed annually (Skin Cancer Foundation).

Prevention starts with education, and knowing exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVA – aging, and UVB – burning rays) from the sun and tanning beds contributes to your risk of developing skin cancer. The good news is an individual can take simple steps to ensure a lifetime of healthy skin and still enjoy everything the outdoors has to offer.

3 Simple New Years Resolutions for Healthy Skin in 2013:

1. Use Sun Protection (Photo: Raw Elements SPF 30 Sunscreen)

1. Incorporate sun protection into your daily routine.

Use sun protection every day of the year. Even if you are indoors, windows allow UVA rays to penetrate the glass (glass blocks UVB rays). Start by incorporating sunscreen into your daily routine. Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher on your face and all exposed skin. If you wear makeup, apply a face sunscreen underneath your foundation even if your foundation has SPF, as most people don’t use a thick enough application to provide adequate sun protection. (Click here for dermatologist recommended face sunscreens.) If you’ll be outdoors for an extended period of time, wear a wide brim hat, UV400 sunglasses and UPF 50+ sun protective clothing. If you cannot wear sun protective clothing, apply sunscreen underneath your T-shirt since most regular clothing offers less than SPF 30 protection. Not only will this keep your skin healthy, but as added incentive, you’ll look younger longer since UV rays significantly contribute to visible signs of aging.

2. Perform a self skin exam

2. Perform a self-skin exam every month and track your mole changes.

You know your body best, so you’ll likely be the first to notice changes in the skin. Also, when caught early, skin cancer is easily treatable in most cases. This is why performing a self-skin exam is important. Print this body map from the Skin Cancer Foundation and then look for the following:

1. A skin growth that increases in size and appears pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black, or multicolored.

2. A mole, birthmark, beauty mark, or any brown spot that: changes color, increases in size or thickness, changes in texture, is irregular in outline, is bigger than 6mm or 1/4”, the size of a pencil eraser, appears after age 21.

3. A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab, erode, or bleed.

4. An open sore that does not heal within three weeks.

If you notice any change in an existing mole or discover a new one that looks suspicious, see a physician immediately.

If you’re more of an smart phone app aficionado, technology is making performing a self-skin exam an exceedingly simple task. Check out smart phone apps on the Coolibar Pinterest page.

3. Get a full-body skin cancer screening (Photo: Charles Crutchfield III, M.D., M.B.B., F.A.A.D.)

3. Make time for a full-body skin cancer screening with a board-certified dermatologist once per year.

While you should check your skin every month, a board-certified dermatologist that works with skin every day may notice changes that you didn’t. Schedule an annual skin cancer screening to ensure your skin is healthy as can be!

The American Academy of Dermatology designates the first Monday in May as Melanoma Monday (5/6/2013). Dermatology offices often provide free skin cancer screenings. Find a free skin cancer screening on the AAD website or by calling your local dermatology office. Mark your calendars now!

Have a great 2013 and keep your skin healthy!

– Coolibar, Sun Protection You Wear

DisclaimerThe information provided by Coolibar and its contributors is general skin care information and should not be a substitute for obtaining medical advice from your physician and is not intended to diagnose or treat any specific medical problem.

What are your 2013 New Year’s Resolutions? Join the conversation on the Coolibar Pinterest page!

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Wellness Warriors

Book: Help Me Live… As I Die, Cancer vs. the Power of Love

Joe Peterson, author of “Help Me Live… As I Die / Cancer vs. the Power of Love” shares his story about the creation of a book that demonstrates the true power of love versus melanoma. Kelly, Joe’s partner, passed away from cancer, but his story lives on through Joe.

From Joe:

I am the youngest of twelve and have always been creatively ambitious. Throughout the course of my life I dealt with suicidal thoughts, came to terms with my sexuality, built self-esteem through body and mind improvement, and always believed in love. Exercise, nutrition and creativity have been passions of mine for many years, and when Kelly was diagnosed they were very much a part of our daily life.

Only after writing daily updates on CaringBridge and receiving positive feedback from the readers (while building a united support system) did I consider sharing our journey via a book. I’ve always wanted to write a book, but I never suspected it would be inspired by a tragic circumstance. I contacted a publishing company months before Kelly passed away, and I believed it would be his and my success story against cancer… specifically, melanoma.

In October of 2011, I realized our physical time together was coming to an end and the story I had wanted to write was going to have an unthinkable ending. Kelly and I moved forth with the same amount of positivity and hope, despite the reality we faced.

Our journey, captured in “Help Me Live… As I Die / Cancer vs. the Power of Love” was completed and released almost one year after Kelly moved on. Reliving, over and over, the trials and tribulations we encountered during Kelly’s final nine months became a source of therapy I had not predicted.

Through my own personal growth, from rereading our united travels in 2011, and through the positive encouragement from others, I felt and still believe Kelly’s positivity will still impact others and potentially teach a better way to live, by living positively. Kelly and I also became aware that the relationship we had was very much respected by our straight loved ones, and our CB entries opened their eyes to the prejudices and safety fears we continually lived with. Our journey was as much about sharing as it was about learning.

–Joe

Joe Peterson, Author of “Help Me Live As I Die…Cancer vs. the Power of Love”

About the book:

This is not a story about death. It is a story about one couple’s journey of acceptance, love, and internal awakenings. Kelly and Joe met by chance, but were bound by fate. One morning in the summer of 2010, Kelly Boedigheimer, a thirty-nine year old man in good health, discovered what he thought was yet another ingrown hair on his chin. That was the first step on the life-changing journey he would share with Joe Peterson, his life partner since 1998.

Months later – following three surgical procedures, where each was more aggressive than the last – Kelly and Joe faced the inconceivable: Kelly was diagnosed with melanoma. In early 2011, Kelly met with a team of specialists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Another surgery, this one more wide-ranging than the others, removed a section of skin from his chin and a portion of his cheek. A graft from his arm provided new skin for those areas. Highly concerned about this aggressive melanoma, doctor’s proceeded quickly to save and protect Kelly.

Here, Joe lovingly and painfully recreates Kelly’s final nine months through journal entries, e-mails, blog posts, texts, and more. Their relationship was tested as too many are; in this visit back to those days, Joe unfolds an inspiring telling of the power of love, optimism, and hope. This is not a story about death. This is a story about love.

Enter to win a free book signed by the author. Share this story with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest and tag @Coolibar or comment below. (We will only use your email to contact you for purposes of this contest. One entry per person please. We’ll choose a winner via random drawing on December 6, 2012 at noon CST.)

Purchase “Help Me Live… As I Die / Cancer vs. the Power of Love” at HelpmeliveasIdie.com, www.Amazon.com, www.BarnesandNoble.com.

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Expert Rx

In Honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it’s a good time to remember the many people affected by the disease. Except for skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, but it can be successfully treated when found early. While no one has full control over whether he or she gets breast cancer, there are simple steps you can take to help reduce your risk.

1. Know your risk

Talk to your family to learn about your family health history. Then speak with your health care provider about your personal risk of breast cancer.

2. Get screened

Have a clinical breast exam at least every three years starting at age 20, and every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk. Ask your health care provider which screening tests are right for you if you are at a higher risk.

3. Know what is normal for you

See your health care provider right away if you notice any of these breast changes:  lump, hard knot or thickening; swelling, warmth, redness or darkening; change in the size or shape of the breast; dimpling or puckering of the skin; itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple; pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast; nipple discharge that starts suddenly; or new pain in one spot that doesn’t go away.

4. Make healthy lifestyle choices

Maintain a healthy weight and add exercise into your routine. Also, limit your alcohol intake. 

These recommendations are provided by Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, the global leader of the breast cancer movement. 

Coolibar also wishes to remind you that as part of a healthy and aware lifestyle, to protect yourself from the sun and check your skin regularly for irregular moles using the ABCDE’s of melanoma from the American Academy of Dermatology. Prevention and early detection are key factors in reducing your risk of developing skin cancers.

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Inside Coolibar Wellness Warriors

A rising need for skin cancer prevention resources in Tanzania

Cancer care in Tanzania is a great challenge to both the government and the citizens due to limited resources and facilities. Tanzania is increasingly facing a dual problem of communicable and chronic illnesses such as cancer. Those with albinism in Tanzania are especially suffering from skin cancer due to their sun sensitivityThe Tanzania Albino Society believes the total number of those with albinism in their region could be more than 150,000.

The East African Medical Assistance Foundation (EAMAF) has been assisting Tanzania with cancer care through Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center (KCMC) for many years, mainly training Radiologists who are now placed all over the country in public and private health facilities. Secondly they have help equip KCMC with diagnostic equipments and facilities. Despite contributions thus far, helping people with Skin Cancer prevention, especially for those with albinism, is paramount.

Global Health Ministries in Fridley, MN who arranges the safe arrival of the EAMAF supply containers in Africa provided a route to get approximately 800 Coolibar sun protective items into this area to assist with skin cancer prevention efforts. This effort was imperative to many as UVA and UVB rays contribute to skin aging, cataracts and skin cancer.

We at Coolibar wished to share the cheerful photos of when the donated product arrived! Also, a special thanks to our Coolibar colleague Ben Socwell for introducing Coolibar to these life changing organizations!

Photo album of presentation of Coolibar clothing and hat to Albino National Leadership and Member of Parliament in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania:

[nggallery id=30]

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Expert Rx Routinely Check Skin Videos

Free Skin Checks on Melanoma Monday + Tanning Mom Skit

Is your FREE SKIN CHECK scheduled? Today, the first Monday of May, is Melanoma Monday and dermatology offices across the country are offering free skin checks as a reminder to get your annual exam. A yearly skin check promotes good health and skin cancer prevention, today and all year long.

It is currently estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. When caught early skin cancer is highly treatable, and is often preventable.  Because the signs of skin cancer are visible on the surface, you just need to call your doctor when you see something unusual, growing, or changing on your skin.

You can search the website of the American Academy of Dermatology and their SPOT initiative to find a free screening near you.

Exposure to ultraviolet light is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer.  If you could reduce your risk of skin cancer by just seeking shade, wearing sun protective clothing and sunscreen, and avoiding tanning beds, wouldn’t you?

Ask your loved ones to commit to keeping their skin safe and getting a skin check.

Now, if we could just convince Tanning Mom that her bronzed skin is not good for her.  Watch the Tanning Mom skit from Saturday Night Live.

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Educate Others Events Expert Rx

Coolibar Communicates the Importance of Sun Protection to Oncology Nurses

Limiting ultraviolet radiation exposure along with other changes in a person’s lifestyle such as quitting smoking, being physically active, and eating a better diet may reduce the risk of developing most types of cancer. But what about those who are in mid-battle of fighting off cancer, in any form? Sun protection is not only important for cancer prevention, but those in cancer treatment especially. The need to limit sun exposure is not always at top-of-mind when someone is going through cancer treatment, so both health care providers and patients need to be SunAWARE.

Today, approximately 12 million people alive in the United States have had some type of cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Some of these people are cancer-free; others still have the disease. Skin can become extremely sensitive during certain types of cancer treatment. Oftentimes drugs used in cancer treatment may make skin more sensitive to the sun.

While patients should always seek professional advice, using broad-spectrum sunscreen for sensitive skin every day can help ease skin irritation and prevent skin damage from the sun’s ultra violet radiation. UVA has the ability to travel through most home and car windows unless they’ve been specifically treated to block UVA. When spending time outdoors, patients should wear a broad-brimmed hat, long-sleeved shirt and long pants. Sun protective clothing that provides cooling sun relief is widely available today and can be found through a simple internet search. To stay comfortable outdoors, look for technical fabrics that offer a high ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating (UPF 50+ is the highest rating available), wick moisture and feel soft to the touch.

In order to help spread the message about the importance of sun protection Coolibar will be visiting the Annual Oncology Nursing Society Congress in New Orleans, LA May 3 – May 6, 2012. Coolibar hopes to help oncology nurses recognize the need to communicate the importance of sun protection to patients to help ease skin conditions, provide comfort, and prevent skin cancer occurrences.

Oncology Nurses: Stop by booth number 918 to see Coolibar.

Annual ONS Congress

Disclaimer: The information provided by Coolibar and its contributors is general skin care information and should not be a substitute for obtaining medical advice from your physician and is not intended to diagnose or treat any specific medical problem.

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