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Stay Out of the Sun Run 2011

On May 20, 2011, the Stay Out of the Sun Run (SOSR) Foundation held their 6th annual walk/race in Rochester, MN to promote awareness of the dangers of sun exposure and support melanoma research and education.  All proceeds from the SOSR are donated to the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center for melanoma research and education. Coolibar was there to contribute to the run for the 5th consecutive year.

The founder of the SOSR, Tim Burriss, a Melanoma survivor, started the run to benefit melanoma research and education. He states that this year’s run had a record number of registered participants, 934! The most they’ve ever had. Not even the dreary, rainy weather before the event kept people away.

So far, not counting this year’s totals, the run has raised over $120,000 to help Mayo Clinic fight melanoma. Tim says, “Melanoma has had such an impact on so many individuals and families and we realize we cannot be content but must continue our fight!”

Skin cancer education and prevention is so important, especially with summer almost being here. So this Don’t Fry Day, May 27, Coolibar wishes to remind everyone to be SunAWARE and protect yourself from the sun.

Avoid unprotected sun exposure; Wear sun-protective clothing, wide brim hat (3” brim or greater), and UV sunglasses; Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher every two hours while in sun; Routinely check your whole body for changes in your skin; Educate your family and community about sun protection.

Perhaps even join a fundraising or educational effort like the SOSR in your area and help support the need for sun protection!


Video footage of the Stay Out of the Sun Run and melanoma survivor feature from NBC Rochester local news

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Congrats to our Coolibar team members who walked and participated in the 5K at the SOSR! You all looked spectacular in your Coolibar sun protection clothing!

Learn more about Skin Cancer and Melanoma from the American Academy of Dermatology

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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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Sun Protection Clothing Wellness Warriors

I’m Only 21, I Can’t Get Cancer

In 2009, Jessi went to a dermatologist to have a freckle removed. A week later, she received a call from her doctor and was told she had Melanoma (the most serious form of skin cancer). She was only 21-years-old at the time. Before her diagnoses, Jessi was unaware of the dangers of UV exposure. In high school, she tanned during the short Minnesota summers and visited tanning salons before formal dances. Since then, she has been proactive about sun protection and tracking changes on her skin throughout the year.

Jessi’s Story

I never thought I would be diagnosed with skin cancer. I had a freckle on my forearm with all the characteristics of a questionable spot. After a couple friends said I should get that spot checked out, I finally decided to go to the clinic and have the freckle removed. The next week, I received a call from the clinic and was told I had Melanoma and needed to have more skin removed. Before I had a larger excision, I scheduled an appointment with a dermatologist for an entire body check. During that appointment, two more spots were removed. The spot on my back came back positive with Melanoma. Especially after the second spot came back positive, my mentality about sun protection has completely changed. I am now always prepared with sunscreen or sun protective clothing when I know I will be spending time in the sun. 

Jessi Staying Covered Hiking Grand Canyon
Jessi Staying Covered Hiking Grand Canyon, 2010

Since I was diagnosed, a few things have changed. First of all, I will never use tanning beds again. Although I never used them regularly or frequently, I did use tanning beds in order to be tan for formal dances. Secondly, I am now always aware of when I am in the sun and plan ahead for protection.

Sun protection played a minor role in my life before my diagnosis. After diagnosis, I now make sure I have a stock of sun screen, sun protective clothing and a nice hat. Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with skin cancer, sun protection is important. Not only does it reduce your chance for skin cancer, it keeps your skin looking younger longer. It is never too early to start using skin protection. 

Melanoma Removal Scar on Back
Melanoma Removal Scar on Back
A-Typical Mole Removed on Leg
A-Typical Mole Removed on Leg

 

Jessi also has a scar on her arm where Melanoma was removed. She visits the dermatologist twice a year to have a full-skin exam. After her melanoma was excised two years ago, her doctor has not found any more traces of Melanoma, although Jessi continues to have a-typical (suspicious) moles removed almost every visit.

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Events SunAWARE

First International Conference on UV and Skin Cancer Prevention

The incidence and prevention of skin cancers has become a global concern.  The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that prolonged human exposure to solar UV radiation may result in acute and chronic health effects of the skin, eyes  and immune system, including skin cancer.   This global epidemic has prompted the first International Conference on UV and Skin Cancer Prevention, jointly sponsored by the WHO, the Danish Cancer Society, TrygFonden and the Cancer Council Victoria.

The meeting of the best and brightest in skin cancer prevention took place in Copenhagen, Denmark May 3-5, 2011.  The main objective of the conference was to create an active international community working in the field of skin cancer prevention.  After three days of sessions and workshops, characterized by engaging presentations and relevant discussion, a list of outcomes was established.  A summary of those conference outcomes are listed below.

A comprehensive approach to skin cancer prevention needed.

Communicating sun safety using a multifaceted approach incorporating media channels and initiatives targeting schools and workplaces has been seen to successfully influence behaviour and attitudes. Funding is vital for results.

Vitamin D and sun protection can be combined.

The conclusion was that sun protection and vitamin D are not contradictory and protecting against the sun does not lead to vitamin D deficiency. People should not overexpose themselves to the sun or use sunbeds to increase vitamin D levels.

Sun protection is relevant for everyone.

It is never too late to protect yourself against sunburn and over exposure to the sun. Sunburn and UV exposure both in adulthood and childhood increase the risk of skin cancer. This makes sun protection, such as seeking shade, covering up or wearing sun screen on exposed skin, necessary for everyone, regardless of age.

Tanning beds are harmful.

The message on use of sunbeds was clear: They are harmful and are not recommended as a source of vitamin D. The intense UV exposure from sunbeds has already made the WHO advise against their use for people under 35 years old. Many countries have banned sunbeds for young people under 18 years old while Brazil has even banned their use for everyone regardless of age.

Governments need to prioritize skin cancer prevention.

Governments should give skin cancer prevention the same priority as other health issues such as fighting obesity and increasing exercise levels in the population. Prevention initiatives have been shown to achieve results and cost significantly less than the cost of skin cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Enjoy the sun but take care during recreational activities.

People living in Northern countries can continue to enjoy the sun as part of their daily lives but should take care to avoid overexposure during their leisure and recreational activities.

This collaboration is a monumental step in the fight against skin cancer.   By working together globally, we can share our collective knowledge and resources for the most effective methods of skin cancer prevention.  All of us at Coolibar are  looking forward to the next conference in 2013 taking place in Berlin Germany.

Patron of the conference HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark gave her support to the conference by taking on the official role as patron and by speaking at the closing event.  She is involved in a campaign to raise awareness and sun safe practices among Danes about skin cancer through The Danish Cancer Society.

Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark
Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark
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SunAWARE Wellness Warriors

Skin Cancer Survivor Carol

Carol Schuler was in her early 30s when she found a freckle on the left side of her face that appeared abnormal, it turned out to be Lentigo Maligna (a form of melanoma).

Carol’s Story

I had [the freckle that turned out to be Lentigo Maligna] looked at about 8 years before I did something about it, but then had Mohs procedure on it about 15 years ago followed by extensive plastic surgery.

I remember this freckle showing up and not noticing that it was growing and changing since it was so slow. When I mentioned it to my family doctor, I was told to just keep an eye on it. If I had gone to a dermatologist right way, I might have avoided having a chunk of my face the size of a 50-cent piece cut out of my face years later. Since I was living in Australia at the time, when I would go home in the summer my best friend Julie started bugging me about it.  Being a busy mother of 3 children my tendency was to put my own health at the end of the list of to do’s. This is a cautionary tale about taking the time for your own health in order to ensure that you are here for your kids in the future.

I feel very lucky to be able to have had it taken care of even though it had grown rather large. I also wear very high quality sunscreen on my face every day of the year. Winter sun can be just as damaging with prolonged exposure.  Now that there are great, breathable fabrics like SUNTECT® from Coolibar – I am able to spend as much time as I like outside without worrying about skin damage.

When I was living in Australia I used to only put on sunscreen when I was going to the beach or pool but the sun was there every minute of the day so I should have applied sunscreen every day regardless of my activity.

Don’t put off going to the doctor to have something checked, the sooner the better.  The time you take to deal with it today just might save your life.

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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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Avoid UV & Seek Shade SunAWARE

This Spring Break, Take a Break from Tanning

Spring Break Panama City Beach, FL

Each year high school and college students around the U.S. take off for sunny destinations around the world to celebrate Spring Break. While these vacations can be a necessary escape from the stress of school, they also spur an increase of unnecessary tanning bed use among teens and young adults trying to obtain a ‘base’ tan prior to their departure.

There are numerous myths created by the tanning industry regarding the supposed benefits of tanning. Last year, the American Academy of Dermatology released results from a survey they conducted to determine if people can separate sun protection facts from myths. One question in the survey asked respondents if it was a fact or myth that getting a base tan is a healthy way to protect skin from sun damage. Only 48 percent of respondents knew the statement was false.  A base tan offers the equivalent of an SPF 4 or less, so very little to no protection. The fact is that a tan is a sign of damage to the skin from UV radiation. Every time a person tans, the skin becomes damaged and this damage accumulates over time, which accelerates the skin aging process and increases a person’s risk for skin cancer.

The damage caused by the UV radiation emitted by the sun and tanning beds is often irreversible. Premature skin aging caused by UV exposure includes fine wrinkles, deep grooves, blotchiness, sagging and a leathery texture in the skin. Some of these changes may appear as early as the age of 20 in anyone who has spent a great deal of time exposing their skin to UV radiation during childhood and teen years.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization, has undeniably linked tanning bed use among young people to skin cancer including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. They found the link between youthful tanning bed use and melanoma was “prominent and consistent”— a 75 percent increase in risk of melanoma among those who first used tanning beds in their twenties or teen years. The study also found no positive health effects of using a tanning booth, contradicting what tanning salons have used as a selling point.

So, would you like some alternatives to getting a base tan for sun protection during your Spring Break? If you still desire a tan look, get a spray tan or use a self-tanning lotion or spray. But remember that using these methods to create a tan look does not mean you’re immune from sun damage. You should still apply a SPF 30 broad-spectrum sunscreen for UV protection. Otherwise, wear sun protective clothing if you don’t want to worry about reapplying sunscreen frequently. 

Our recommended sun protection beach packing list:

– Broad-spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen to cover exposed skin

Lip balm with SPF

– Wide brim hat (at least three-inches) to protect the head and neck

– UV-blocking sunglasses to protect the eyes

Swim cover up for extra coverage when desired

Beach umbrella to help you seek the shade

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Success Stories Wellness Warriors

A 6-Year-Old Melanoma Hero

It’s not fair that anyone should have to deal with something as life altering as melanoma, especially a 6-year-old. Rachael was only 5 when she was diagnosed with stage III melanoma on September 10, 2009. After a year of battling and conquering melanoma, Rachael and her family know all too well why sun protection is important.

It all started with a little mole on her left arm that Rachael complained hurt. Rachael’s mom, Danielle, took her to the doctor thinking the mole was nothing, but better be on the safe-side. Once at the Doctor’s office, the physician removed the mole and everything was assumed to be okay. While this spot was not initially diagnosed as stage III melanoma, after the first biopsy, doctors knew it was something. It was confirmed after Rachael had a wide local excision on her arm three inches long and a biopsy of the sentinel lymph node, where they removed a few lymph nodes to look for cancer cells. 

While the typical survival rate for stage III melanoma is 60 percent, Rachael was in a rare, but good situation for the circumstances. Doctors told Danielle that children under the age of 10 diagnosed with malignant melanoma have a high survival rate, but further action was necessary. The treatment Doctors recommended for Rachael has been used on less than 100 children in Rachael’s situation and all survived. Her treatment never incorporated chemo, but rather surgery (to remove all lymph nodes under her left arm), four weeks of interferon given daily through an IV using a picc line (which can make the patient ill), weekly injections through the picc line for 48 weeks, and what will be years of follow-up tests. Rachael received a bead through the Beads of Courage program for every treatment she went through. By the end of the year, her necklace of beads was worth more than a thousand words.

Rachael's Beads of Courage

Fortunately, Rachael’s cancer was caught early. She is living healthfully and cancer-free now among her parents and brother; however, her journey to wellbeing was not an easy one, and the experience has forever changed her life as well as her family. Danielle says, “A year into this, how has life changed for us? I think about the sun every single day… I no longer think 15 minutes without sunscreen is okay. Rachael wears a hat every day.  She wears it in the pool.  She wears it to the beach.  She wears it in the shade.” Danielle does this with great reason too. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, about 65 percent of melanoma cases can be attributed to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Rachael and those surrounding her are now all practicing sun-safe habits every day under the sun.

Danielle’s Blog chronicles their family’s journey through pediatric melanoma: http://iloveyoumorethanmost.blogspot.com

Organizations such as the Children’s Melanoma Prevention Foundation aggressively focus attention on the need to teach “prevention” and “sun protection” to children, and their caregivers. Learn more about this program and tools you can use to teach future generations how to be SunAWARE.

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Avoid UV & Seek Shade SunAWARE Videos

Natural Skin Tones are Totally on Trend

Editorial

Each year we observe President’s Day on the third Monday in February. For some reason, this particular President’s Day got me thinking about the days of old (or the days when George Washington was President) when pale skin was in. In fact, women before the 1920s used to use skin whitening methods to keep as much of a milky white tone as possible. This symbolized a high social status as outdoor workers, who were considered lower class, carried a tan appearance.  So why did this change over the years, and where are we now?

It’s argued that Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel (pictured above), a revolutionary French fashion designer of the 20th century, started the tanning trend by mistake. While visiting the French Riviera in the 1920s, she accidentally got sunburn. In doing so, bronzed skin became a symbol of glamour rather than peasantry as her large following instantly adopted this look. By the end of the decade, the poor had left the fields for factories, and, helped along by Chanel, the trend for tan skin began.

Between Chanel, the industrial revolution, women’s magazine advertisements encouraging tanning in the 1940’s, the premiere of the bikini in 1946, the introduction of tanning beds in the late 70’s early 80’s, tan skin became, what seemed, acceptable, fashionable and easily obtainable. Years later, we know better.

This trend of the past century has left us with skyrocketing skin cancer rates and many with prematurely aging skin.  Currently, more people seem to be wising-up, protecting their skin, and “going with their own glow”.

For the past few years now, we’ve been seeing more natural toned celebrities on the red carpet, and pale, yet glowing, models on the runway. Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, teen idols from the popular Twilight movies, have set a new trend for the younger crowd. Both sport a pale complexion yet glow with natural beauty.  Jane Larkworthy, recent Beauty Director of W magazine even claims tanning is just not in fashion anymore. “I can’t remember the last time I saw a tanned model in my magazine or on the runway.”

If you were once a part of the tan fad that is now out, you may not be able to reverse the damage that has been done. But the good news is that you can take action now. Start protecting your skin from the sun and get back your natural glow.

So how do you keep that natural skin tone glowing? 

First, avoid unprotected UV exposure as much as possible. Second, wear sun protective clothing, including a hat with a three-inch brim or greater, along with UV sunglasses. Then apply a generous amount of sunscreen, with SPF 30 or higher, 20 minutes before heading outdoors. Try a broad-spectrum sunscreen such as Soleo Organics, SolBar, or Vanicream. Do this, and your skin will be naturally glowing in no time!

“Tanning is Out of Style” Video by the Skin Cancer Foundation

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