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Once Again, “The Big C” Puts Skin Cancer in the Spotlight

It’s back, a new season of “The Big C”, starting on Monday, June 27, 2011 on Showtime.

“The Big C” tells the story of Cathy Jamison, played by Laura Linney (pictured to the left), a wife and mother living in suburbia recently diagnosed with Stage IV melanoma (a deadly form of skin cancer). Her cancer forces her to shake up her life and find hope and humor in spite of her grim situation.

The show may not always accurately portray the life of someone battling skin cancer; however, it brings the topic to the center stage without scaring off viewers due to its morose background. It’s a comedy, but does not neglect that there is a serious story behind the series. The Skin Cancer Foundation has praised the show’s creator Darlene Hunt and the cast for increasing awareness for melanoma, which when found early, can be treatable. Melanoma is also preventable in some cases by using sun protection, as about 65 percent of melanoma cancers can be attributed to UV radiation according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

An Overview of “The Big C”

Cathy is a high school teacher who, at the start of the series, has been diagnosed with melanoma. Reluctant to burden those closest to her, she keeps it a secret for months, but later eventually reveals she has cancer to her husband and son. Her behavior takes a major turn from her reserved lifestyle as she makes reckless choices in the face of her fatality. At the end of the first season, she decides to undergo interleukin-2 (IL-2), a treatment option for those with Stage IV melanoma. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, about 10-16 percent of carefully selected patients on IL-2 regimens respond to the drug, and about 60 percent of those patients’ lives are significantly extended. The second season picks up from here.

Have you watched “The Big C”, and if so, what do you think? Is this a good topic for a television show? Let us know your thoughts on Facebook or by commenting below.

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Sun Protection Clothing

Vacation Without the Burn

Before Jennifer’s recent trip to Hawaii, she packed her sun hats, sun protective clothing, sunscreen and sunglasses in order to avoid bringing back a flamboyant red tone as a souvenir. So, did her pre-planning help her avoid a painful situation? 

For the first time in my life I returned from a sunny vacation without a single sunburn!  The idea that this fair skinned, red haired woman can spend a week in sunny Hawaii and not get burned is a new concept for me.  I’ve spent countless hours in the sun with my darker complected friends only to contend with the pain of sunburn in the places I missed with sunscreen or in some instances a full out sunburn from not re-applying sunscreen at all (having too much fun to stop and re-apply) .  Terms like lobster and tomato have been used to describe my skin’s reddish hue after a day on the beach…and I felt like a fool when I changed for dinner and my cute new sundress was overshadowed by my flaming skin!

I’m a proud 5 year Coolibar employee.  When I was interviewing with the company, I remember thinking, “I don’t get it, isn’t all clothing sun protective?”  I’ve since learned that not all clothing is equal in its ability to protect from the sun, plus it doesn’t matter if you’re not willing to wear it.  So now, thanks to Coolibar, I’ve got my arsenal of UPF 50+ hats, swimwear, clothing, sunglasses, and dermatologist recommended sunscreen.  I can spend endless hours in the sun, feeling glamorous, in my Coolibar stuff and I don’t have to worry about sunburn, skin cancer or wrinkles.  I say, bring on the sun, I’m ready for it!  I heart my Coolibar!

Jennifer

Coolibar Employee

Jennifer’s vacation items from Coolibar included: Shapeable Poolside Sun Hat (pictured above), Short Sleeve Swim Shirt and Swim Skirt with Shorts (pictured on boat), Avalon Bucket Hat (pictured in car and boat), and Cotz SPF 58 sunscreen (not pictured).

Jen and Ren under an umbrella
Jen and Ren seeking shade
Jen Boating
Jen Boating in her Swim Shirt and Avalon Hat
Jen driving top down
Jen driving top down in her Avalon Hat
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Inside Coolibar Sun Protection Clothing SunAWARE

Make Sure Dad is Covered This Father’s Day

If dad loves to spend time fishing, golfing, biking or participating in any outdoor activity, you may want to consider giving him the gift of sun protective clothing this Father’s Day. It not only will keep him cooler and more comfortable than if his skin was directly exposed to the sun,  but it will protect him from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Perry Robins, MD, President of The Skin Cancer Foundation says, “The sun’s UV radiation is associated with about 90 percent of all skin cancers.” Men over age 40 spend the most time outdoors and have the highest annual exposure to ultraviolet radiation. And the majority of people diagnosed with melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, are white men over age 50, states the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Middle-aged and older men often don’t perform self skin exams or regularly visit a dermatologist, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Thus, they are the least likely individuals to detect melanoma in its early stages. Encouragement from family members is essential when convincing Dad of the importance of sun protection and early detection. Father’s Day is the perfect time to give your dad the gift of sun protection to show him how much you care. 

We asked our Dads at Coolibar what their favorite sun protection item is so we could pass their recommendations onto you. They gave the following sun protective shirts and hats two thumbs up!

Coolibar Sun Protective Clothing

Swim Shirt

“When coming out of the water on a hot day the shirt keeps me cool even in the sun. Plus it reduces the need for sunscreen.” –Lu

Convertible Polo

“The Convertible Golf Polo is the lightest and softest polo shirt I have ever owned. It stretches when I move and keeps me as cool as most T-shirts.” –Ben

Travel Shirt

“It has great light fabric and nice big pockets for passport and other documents. For my photo shoots in sunny FL & CA, I packed 5 travel shirts. I use the triple collar all the time to protect my neck.”  –Lu

Long-Sleeve Polo

“I have one of these with me in my suitcase at all times.  It’s very comfortable, very protective, and is great for traveling.”  –John

Coolibar Sun Hats

Featherweight Bucket Hat

“It is extremely lightweight and packable so I carry one with me in my bag all of the time.  It’s very protective with a nice curved brim and a navy under-brim to absorb reflected UV.  And if it gets windy I can use the draw string to make sure it doesn’t blow off, normally I tuck this up into the hat.”         –John

Packable Fedora

“This is a great value, classic style, and allows you to wear a fedora without worrying about crushing it when you take it off. Especially great on a winter vacation to the south – you can pack it way so you don’t look out of place in the Minneapolis, MN airport in the middle of February wearing a straw hat!” –Michael  

Shapeable Outback Hat

“It’s perfect for landscaping work, and is extremely durable and rugged.” – Alan

Don’t forget Sunscreen and Sunglasses for Dad too!

Have a SunAWARE Father’s Day!

–Coolibar

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Sun Protection Clothing What's Hot

What is Your Coolibar Beach Style?

Answer 10 simple questions to determine your ideal Coolibar beach look, because there is no need to give up your style to get reliable sun protection!

Is your style Sporty? Timeless? Glamorous? Smart?

The answer is below!

  

  

Scroll down to see your Coolibar beach style.

Swim & Surf Chic (Sporty Style)

If your first mission is to hit the water once the waves are in sight, then you’ll need an ensemble that works as hard as you work the water (and is stylish of course!) Coolibar suggests: Swim Jacket, Swim Tights, Chlorine Resistant Hat, UV Swim Goggles and All Terrain Aqua Sport SPF 30 Sunscreen

 

Shoreline Meanderer (Classic Timeless Style)

If your plan includes meandering through shops or dining seaside, you’ll probably want something with a little more coverage and style. Coolibar suggests: Sun Sarong, ZnO Sun Wrap, Tropicana Sun Hat, Mixed Pearl Necklace, Mykonos Sunglasses and Colorscience SPF 30 Powder Makeup

Lounging Lady (Glamorous Style)

If your ideal day at the beach or poolside is sitting under a parasol, reading a book and only moving to grab and sip of your pink lemonade every so often, then you’ll want sun wear to make your day as comfortable and relaxed as possible while still keeping your sense of style in mind!  Coolibar suggests: ZnO Sarasota Beach Cover Up, Ruche Swim Shirt, Shapeable Poolside Sun Hat, Cookie Sunglasses and Body Cotz SPF 35 Sunscreen

Active Chic (Smart Style)

You never know what a day at the beach will bring for you and your spontaneous nature. You go for simple, versatile and carefree looks you can throw on in an instant at the beach for some sand volleyball or reading your favorite magazine. You may even wade in the water from time to time. Coolibar suggests: Beach Shirt, ZnO Beach Pants, Marina Sun Hat, Patrol Sunglasses, Stone and Leather Cuff and Soleo Organics SPF 30 Sunscreen

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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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Sunscreens and Lotions

Total Block and Cotz Sunscreen FAQ

Fallene Products

Coolibar asked sunscreen expert Kirk Minster from Fallene, Ltd., the maker of Total Block and Cotz Sunblock products, to host a Q & A session on the Coolibar Facebook page. With over six years of experience at Fallene, Kirk had plenty of valuable sunscreen information to pass on. Here is a brief recap of the session.

I have had skin cancer surgery on my nose and have been trying hard to use sunscreen every day. One problem that I have is taking sunscreen wherever I go, to reapply every two hours. I would love to have an option of single application containers (or towels, if that could be possible) that I could pop in my pocket or purse and not have to worry about it leaking and getting on everything. Does anything like this exist?

Convenience is always an issue with sunscreen, but unfortunately, anything that is either a spray or a moist towel is going to have chemical sunscreen filters only, no titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, the two ingredients that will give you the best broad spectrum photo stable protection. That said, for your nose I would use LipCotz SPF 45. This is in a small portable tube that will fit in your purse or your pocket. It is not only great for your lips, but it can be applied to your nose and ears as well. Finally, all of the Cotz products are in tubes with secure twist tops so the risk of any opening and ruining a purse is next to zero.

How do your products rate on the skin deep cosmetic safety data base?

All of the ingredients are FDA approved and have been in use for decades. As the Cotz line has evolved, we have taken great pains to limit the number of ingredients while providing products that give the best broad spectrum ( both UVA and UVB light) best photo-stable (this means the product does not break down when exposed to sun light, a common problem with chemical sunscreen filters) possible.

Fallene’s products are not safe because I am telling you they are, though I am giving you this assurance. They are safe because years of study into the active and inactive ingredients by competent, well respected scientists have determined they are safe for use on the skin.

Here you will find the report the TGA released in 2009 regarding nano TiO2 and ZO http://www.tga.gov.au/safety/alerts-medicine-sunscreens-051202.htm#nano

I think you will find the TGA report compelling. With hope the FDA will release a monograph for the UVA spectrum of light in 2011 so that consumers will have some way to gage the effectiveness of their sunscreen against the deeper penetrating UVA light.

Most sunscreen burns my face, so I have to use fragrance free sensitive skin types on my arms & chest but cannot find a brand that does not burn sensitive facial skin. Any tips?

Try the Cotz SPF 35 Zinc only, we made it for you and all those with very sensitive skin. Also, the Face Cotz SPF 40 is great for sensitive skin and is very silky to the touch, so it will feel light and smooth on the surface of your face.

For the active ingredients, you have a sunscreen with both Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide, and then one with just Zinc Oxide. Why is this?

Part of the answer reflects Fallene’s evolution as a sunscreen company, part of the reason resides in the intended function. Total Block 65 and Total Block 60 are older products. Total Block 60 is a makeup cover-up. Total Block 65 is a sunscreen that is designed to be non-comedogenic. Non-comedogenic simply means it will not cause the user to break out with blemishes. Over a decade ago when both TB 60 and TB 65 were formulated, the best way to get a non-comedogenic sunscreen with superior protection and a focus on high SPF was to use both chemical and physical actives.

As Fallene, Ltd. evolved, more recent product, in particular the Cotz SPF 35 20% zinc reflects a less is more approach. With only 20% zinc as an active, it exposes the user to as few potentially irritating ingredients as possible, still gives adequate protection from UVB with an SPF 35 (Experts suggest SPF 30 is enough, anything more is probably more than you need) plus great protection from UVA as well.

Is there a way to reduce the white residue some zinc based sunscreens leave behind? It can be especially bad when I’m running outside and I start to sweat.

I suggest the FaceCotz SPF 45 for you in combination with the Cotz SPF 35 20% zinc. Use the Face Cotz on your face as you might have guessed and the Cotz 20% zinc everywhere you have exposed skin. You will find both free of that white residue and both are water resistant. The FaceCotz is very water resistant so will give excellent sweat resistant protection for your face.

Are your products safe to use on babies/toddlers?

For children 6 months and older, I recommend the Cotz products. In particular, the Cotz 20% Zinc only.

Do your sunscreens contain nano-particles? If so, is this a concern?

The titanium and zinc in our products is technically micronized. I know much has been made of nano particle/ nano technology in the past few years. This year, for the first time, the subject was researched by dermatologists so that they could make recommendations to other dermatologists. What this report said is what numerous previous studies concluded, micronized titanium and zinc are safe for use in functional cosmetics.

The Environmental Working Group is a good source of information on this topic.

Chemical sunscreen absorbers by definition absorb into the skin. Physical protection, titanium and zinc, rest on the surface of the skin. Studies by the European Union, the FDA, and the Australian Regulatory agency called the TGA, all show that micronized titanium and zinc will not absorb through the outer layers of skin, into deeper layers of skin.

Take a look at this link: http://www.tga.gov.au/safety/alerts-medicine-sunscreens-051202.htm#nano

This is an excerpt from the TGA website; the TGA is the Australian equivalent of our FDA and has rigorously studied nano particles in sunscreen. Here is what they have to say: In early 2009, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) conducted an updated review of the scientific literature in relation to the use of nanoparticulate zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in sunscreens (see below).

The TGA review concluded that:

-The potential for titanium dioxide and zinc oxide nanoparticles in sunscreens to cause adverse effects depends primarily upon the ability of the nanoparticles to reach viable skin cells; and

-To date, the current weight of evidence suggests that titanium dioxide and zinc oxide nanoparticles do not reach viable skin cells; rather, they remain on the surface of the skin and in the outer layer of the skin that is composed of non-viable cells.

For the full TGA report on the safety of Titanium and Zinc, please use this link: http://www.tga.gov.au/safety/alerts-medicine-sunscreens-051202.htm#nano. The report confirms that all research thus far shows these ingredients to be safe and the best protection from the sun.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration is well respected. They have paid such close attention to this topic because Australia is the perennial front runner in cases of skin cancer per capita. They want to know what works to help prevent skin cancer but are also concerned with safety. The link above will take you to the full report on nano particle titanium and zinc that can be downloaded as a PDF.

Why is there tint in some of your sunscreen? I found this out after purchasing and using it in Hawaii.

The tint is the iron oxide that we use in Cotz SPF 58. Iron Oxide is as common ingredient in makeup that has been used as a color agent for decades. In Cotz SPF58, the Iron Oxide acts to offset the whitening effect of the Titanium and Zinc. Although it is not an FDA approved active sunscreen ingredient, studies show that the small iron particles also act as good protection high up in the UVA range of light, near the visible light range. Cotz 20% Zinc SPF 35 which has no tint.

What are the most effective sunscreen components/things to look for in a sunscreen?

Look for two key ingredients, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These FDA recognized active sunscreen ingredients are the best broad spectrum and photo-stable (will not break down when exposed to light) so will provide the best protection.

Do your products use chemical sunscreen filters or only physical?

The entire Cotz line with four different products in all is physical protection only, no chemical sunscreens. The older Total Block products, around for more than a decade now, combine chemical and physical FDA approved active sunscreen ingredients.

What is the difference between your Cotz brand and Total Block brand?

Cotz is chemical sunscreen filter free using just titanium dioxide, and or zinc oxide for sun protection.

The Total Block products combine physical block, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide with chemical sunscreen filters.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Shop for Cotz and Total Block sunscreens at Coolibar.

Remember full sun protection includes a sun hat, UV clothing, sunglasses and broad-spectrum sunscreen.

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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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