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Gearing Up for Skin Cancer Awareness Month

May has been declared Skin Cancer Awareness Month by the Centers for Disease Control. Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon according to the American Cancer Society. Take advantage of the wealth of skin cancer prevention resources available next month so you can become SunAWARE and help prevent and detect skin cancers.

1. Start out May with a free skin cancer screening.

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) designates the first Monday in May as Melanoma Monday (5/7/2012). 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.

Additionally, this year, the AAD will launch their SPOT Skin Cancer™ public education initiative on Melanoma Monday. The initiative aims to educate the public about skin cancer and promote positive behavior to prevent and detect skin cancer. SPOT Skin Cancer™ also will position dermatologists as the experts in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer.

2. Walk or run to support skin cancer research.

Register to walk or run and raise money in support of skin cancer research through the Melanoma Research Foundation. Search for an event in your area, or create your own Miles for Melanoma event. Miles for Melanoma events take place across the United States and are hosted by volunteers.

3. Register to win school sun hats from Coolibar.

Coolibar is giving away up to 50 school sun hats to five winning classrooms across the United States. Download the contest form or enter online. Contest deadline is May 11, 2012.

4. Kick off your summer with Don’t Fry Day.

The Friday before Memorial Day (5/25/2012) is deemed Don’t Fry Day by The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention. The purpose is to remind everyone to protect your skin while enjoying the outdoors.

5. Pledge to follow these simple steps of SunAWARE to prevent and detect skin cancers all summer.

Avoid unprotected exposure to sunlight, seek shade, and never indoor tan.

Wear sun protective clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses year-round.

Apply recommended amounts of broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sunburn protection factor (SPF) greater than or equal to 30 to all exposed skin and reapply every two hours, or as needed.

Routinely examine your whole body for changes in your skin and report concerns to a parent or healthcare provider.

Educate your family and community about the need to be SunAWARE.

If you have any ideas, suggestions or events on skin cancer prevention, please share them with us.

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Success Stories SunAWARE Wellness Warriors

Cindy Combats Basal Cell Carcinoma

One day, out of the blue, Cindy found a suspicious spot of skin on her nose. This spot ended up being Basal Cell Carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer, which affects almost two million Americans each year according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Cindy shares her story to remind us of the importance of being SunAWARE.

Cindy’s Story

I was a 48-year-old sun worshipper when I discovered a flake of skin on my nose that would not heal. It appeared to be just a piece of dry skin until I washed my face one day and the spot began to bleed.

I made an appointment with my dermatologist and she took a biopsy. I returned a week later to have the stitches taken out and told her that the spot that flaked was not exactly on the spot that she biopsied. The biopsy came back negative and she assured me that if there was cancer it would have shown up on the test results.

I returned to her a year later complaining the spot was bigger and continued to flake. This time she froze the area. I waited 6 months and returned insisting on another biopsy – in the correct spot. This time it came back positive for basal cell. She apologized admitting she had taken a biopsy the first time from a wrong area. I was scheduled for a Mohs procedure and flap repair with a plastic surgeon. I realized then I had to be my own best advocate!

I stopped sitting in the sun without sunscreen and a hat. However; five years later I was diagnosed with a second basal cell carcinoma. Again, the only indication I had was a flaky spot on the side of my nose that just would not completely heal up. And again, I was scheduled for Mohs procedure and flap repair.

My Doctor states that once diagnosed with basal cell skin cancer you are more likely to have a reoccurrence.  Now I won’t leave the house without a hat. I also wear a sunscreen of SPF 46 and make-up with sunscreen.

My younger brother was diagnosed and treated for melanoma when he was only 38-years-old. He had a mole on his back that surgeons stated were sure had been there all his life. He is now 16 years cancer free! He is very cautious about being in the sun and always wears long sleeves and sunscreen!

My advice to you is to be safe while you are in the sun, protect yourself.  Check your skin for changes and be your own best advocate.  Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.  Save yourself from having to going through what I have. 

Cindy After Mohs Surgery
Cindy after Mohs surgery
Cindy After Stitches Were Removed
Cindy after stitches removed
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Success Stories Wellness Warriors

Melanoma Survivor Tim

Tim Ward and Family

In 2007, Tim went to a Mayo Clinic dermatologist to have a mole on his left arm looked at. The doctor removed it right away so it could be tested. A few years prior, Tim had this same mole tested, and it was fine. But this time, the biopsy showed that the mole had turned into Melanoma.

Tim’s Story

My name is Tim Ward.  I am 39 years old and had malignant melanoma.  I was diagnosed in the summer of 2007.

I am Australian born and lived in Melbourne Australia for 25 years.  In 1996 I came to America to study at the University of Minnesota in horticulture.  I have worked in the horticulture industry my whole life, outdoors most of the time. 

Five years prior to my diagnosis I had a mole biopsied on my left arm.  The doctors took only a part of the mole and left the rest.  The biopsy came back fine and nothing more was mentioned to me at the time.  Five years later my wife Amy noticed a change of color to that particular mole.  I went to Mayo Clinic to see dermatology.  The physician who examined my body wanted a biopsy of that mole immediately.  Three to four days later I received a call back from Mayo with the diagnosis of malignant melanoma.  They scheduled me that week to remove the rest of the mole and its margins.  They took the margins around the mole and 35 stitches later sewed me up.  Five to ten days later the clinic called again to tell me that they had removed all of the cancer.  I have since had a few other moles removed which have all been cancer free. 

Since the diagnosis I have paid close attention to my entire body. My family has been very sensitive during this experience.  I have 8-year-old twin boys, one with very fair skin like myself.  My wife and I are very conscientious of sun protection for our family.  I have always worn sunscreen year round prior to cancer and since.  Unfortunately, my profession leaves me exposed all of the time.  I try to wear a hat and long sleeves when possible.  I am very careful to apply sunscreen to my children and to make sure they wear UV protection clothing especially when swimming. 

My advice to you would be to use sun protection year round and to try and limit your sun exposure if possible.  Regularly see your doctor and watch for any changes to your skin.

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Expert Rx SunAWARE

Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Coolibar Beach Umbrella

 

Did you know that May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month?

May has been declared Skin Cancer Awareness Month by the Centers for Disease Control.  With more than 3.5 million skin cancers diagnosed annually in over two million people in the United States, we need to become SunAWARE. 

Here are a few ideas for you to be AWARE of Skin Cancer this month and all summer long.

1.) Start out May with a Free Skin Cancer Screening.

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) designates the first Monday in May as Melanoma Monday- 5/2/2011.  The purpose of this day is to raise awareness of melanoma, a potentially fatal skin cancer, and to encourage early detection.  With early detection, melanoma has a high cure rate.  Participating clinics offer free screenings on that day and throughout the month.  Click the links below for more information.

Click to learn more about Skin Cancer Screenings.

Click to locate a FREE Screening in your area.

Click for Daily Tips from the AAD.

Click for Free Screenings from The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Road to Healthy Skin Tour

2.) Walk or Run to support Skin Cancer Research.

There are many walks/runs across the United States that raise money in support of skin cancer research, such as the Stay Out of the Sun Run in Rochester, MN.  Search locally for an event in your area, or create your own Miles for Melanoma event.

3.) Register to win Free School Sun Hats from Coolibar in May.

In May Coolibar is giving away free school sun hats to 5 winning classrooms across the United States.  Download the contest form to enter.  Contest deadline is May 13th.

4.) Kick off your summer with Don’t Fry Day.

The Friday before Memorial Day (5/27/2011) is deemed “Don’t Fry Day” by The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention.   The purpose is to remind everyone to protect your skin while enjoying the outdoors.

 Pledge to follow these simple steps to prevent and detect skin cancers all summer.

SunAWARE
SunAWARE - Simple steps to prevent and detect skin cancers.
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