Author Topic: May is Melanoma Awareness Month  (Read 13539 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Ehelldame

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 2779
  • I'm evil personified to the terminally crass.
    • Etiquette Hell
May is Melanoma Awareness Month
« on: April 30, 2010, 06:07:55 PM »
May starts the season, here in the Northern hemisphere, of increased activities in the sun.  So, it seems a good time to promote awareness of effects of the sun on skin and make people aware of malignant melanoma.

Just a few facts from www.skincancer.org...

Quote
Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. However, if it is recognized and treated early, it is nearly 100 percent curable. But if it is not, the cancer can advance and spread to other parts of the body, where it becomes hard to treat and can be fatal. While it is not the most common of the skin cancers, it causes the most deaths.

The incidence of many common cancers is falling, but the incidence of melanoma continues to rise significantly, at a rate faster than that of any of the seven most common cancers.

Women aged 39 and under have a higher probability of developing melanoma than any other cancer except breast cancer.

Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old and the second most common form of cancer for adolescents and young adults 15-29 years old.

About 65 percent of melanoma cases can be attributed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.

I became one of those statistics last September when a suspicious mole on my back was removed and the pathology report came back as malignant melanoma.  I was referred to the University of North Carolina Hospital Melanoma Clinic and in October had a wide local excision surgery to remove a large chunk from the original tumor area and Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy surgery to remove three "sentinel" nodes the radioactive dye had indicated were the first nodes to be affected had my melanoma metastasized.   A week later I received the pathology report that my tumor margins and nodes were clear of any melanoma.  Lots of rejoicing in our family because had my melanoma spread to my lymph nodes and other body parts, it was basically a death sentence.  There is a reason melanoma is referred to as the "Tyrannosaurus Rex of Cancer".  

Skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma, squamus cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma are all preventable cancers.  

*  Seek the shade, especially between 10 A.M. and 4 P.M.
*  Do not burn.
*  Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
*  Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day.
*  Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours.
*  Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
*  Avoid tanning parlors and tanning devices.
*  Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.  (http://www.skincancer.org/Self-Examination/)
*  See your doctor every year for a professional skin exam.

Some online sites for 50+ UPF clothing are:

http://www.coolibar.com
http://www.shadyladyproducts.com/
http://httP://www.junonia.com  Plus sized 50+ UPF clothing




« Last Edit: April 30, 2010, 06:12:43 PM by Ehelldame »

wendelenn

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1523
Re: May is Melanoma Awareness Month
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2010, 06:14:26 PM »
As a 12 year survivor of melanoma, I say a hearty THANKS, Dame!
"I don't mean to be rude", he began, in a tone that threatened rudeness in every syllable.

"--yet sadly, accidental rudeness occurs alarmingly often," Dumbledore finished the sentence gravely.  "Best to say nothing at all."

DottyG

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 18204
Re: May is Melanoma Awareness Month
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2010, 07:14:27 PM »
had my melanoma spread to my lymph nodes and other body parts, it was basically a death sentence.  There is a reason melanoma is referred to as the "Tyrannosaurus Rex of Cancer". 

This is really scary - I didn't realize this. :(  I'm so glad you were ok, EHD.

Thanks for posting this thread.


Scritzy

  • Please do not adjust your set.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 15895
  • Passing through the iris of the world ...
Re: May is Melanoma Awareness Month
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2010, 07:51:59 PM »
I wish Chip would take these stats to heart. I can't get him to wear sunscreen for love or money. He doesn't like the feel of it on his skin. :(
Dragons

SC
It will pass. Or not.

kareng57

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12273
Re: May is Melanoma Awareness Month
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2010, 08:20:01 PM »
I too once had a suspicious mole removed - luckily it was benign.  But I've very fair skinned and had lots of bad sunburns when I was a child, therefore the need for vigilance.  We use SPF 60 when in Mexico.

I was so diligent about DS #1 never getting sunburnt (he was born in June) that I was putting baby sunblock on him from day 1 whenever we went outdoors.  Never mind that it took several months for me to notice the label "do not use on babies under six months of age".    DS #2 is also very fair like me and even though I was pretty thorough with the sunblock, one area I constantly seemed to miss was the back of his ears.  He did get burnt there a few times, I just have to hope that there will never be a problem.  Overall though I really dislike seeing little children with a "cute" tan (by this I mean that these are kids that I'd see frequently even through the cooler months so I know it's not their normal skin-tone).  My hairdresser has a tanning bed in her salon and touts the effectiveness of a "preventive" tan.  I just don't feel like getting into an argument with her about it.

Glad that everything is okay, EhellDame.

vorbau

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1438
  • walking around naked doesn't make you an emperor
Re: May is Melanoma Awareness Month
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2010, 09:13:32 PM »
I'm so glad you're OK, EHellDame!

DH has had a single incidence of melanoma on his left forearm and now is fanatical about sunscreen and protective clothing. To protect his left arm from "driver's tan," I made him a removable "sleeve" that he pulls on to cover up whenever he's wearing short sleeves. He's had several other basal cell carcinomas removed, as have my dad and aunt, and I get checked every six months (as a redhead who can burn from a 100-watt bulb).

DH and his dermatologists strongly recommend the Neutrogena Helioplex SPF 75 or stronger sunscreen. I like it because it doesn't feel like your skin is hermetically sealed.
Let's roll. (And you can't scare me; I've had teenagers.)

Fliss

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 491
  • Australia - the land that time forgot.
Re: May is Melanoma Awareness Month
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2010, 11:16:14 PM »
I've had several of the nasty type (can't remember name, but the quick changing ones) removed over the years. On the up side, I now have almost matching scars on both arms, although the boss almost hyperventilated last time I walked in with eight stitches.

This is the leading cause of cancer death in Oz. There are clinics now that offer scans using special lights, as skin cancers show under these lights because of the way the cells are made (all very technical, don't entirely understand it m'self.)

I'm glad it's being brought to peoples attention, but no-one should wait a year to check their skin, esp. arms and back.
Good news! Your insurance company says they'll cover you. Unfortunately, they also say it will be with dirt.

Dindrane

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 15383
Re: May is Melanoma Awareness Month
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2010, 11:41:24 PM »
I wish Chip would take these stats to heart. I can't get him to wear sunscreen for love or money. He doesn't like the feel of it on his skin. :(

I totally understand where Chip is coming from, because I agree completely.  I hate sunscreen, a lot.  Even the stuff that's supposed to be weightless or non-greasy still feels like it's left a film on my skin.

However, clothing protects skin even better than sunscreen does.  As does simply staying out of the sun.  I can understand why not everyone likes to embrace my "stay indoors!" tendency, but you can buy UV-blocking clothing that is loose and light, and probably better for staying cool than baring your skin is anyway.  And hats are a much better production from sun exposure on your face than sunscreen, because you won't miss any nooks and crannies that way.  If Chip is like my dad, hats are necessary because of thinning hair - my dad never leaves the house without a hat on, and he's at least one suspicious bit of skin removed from his scalp.

DH and his dermatologists strongly recommend the Neutrogena Helioplex SPF 75 or stronger sunscreen. I like it because it doesn't feel like your skin is hermetically sealed.

I still won't say I like this sunscreen, but it is world's better than most of the other sunscreens I've tried.  It's not cheap, so I tend to only use it on my face and arms (i.e. when I'm wearing normal clothing).  When I need to use a lot of sunscreen, I suck it up and use the cheap stuff everywhere but my face - quantity is the most important thing when applying sunscreen, after all.


Ehelldame

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 2779
  • I'm evil personified to the terminally crass.
    • Etiquette Hell
Re: May is Melanoma Awareness Month
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2010, 10:11:40 AM »
However, clothing protects skin even better than sunscreen does. 

Not all clothing is the same.  Plain woven, white cotten used for a typical t-shirt has a UPF value of 4 whereas denim is way over UPF 100.

http://sun1.awardspace.com/Sun_Protection/fabrics.htm

Scritzy

  • Please do not adjust your set.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 15895
  • Passing through the iris of the world ...
Re: May is Melanoma Awareness Month
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2010, 01:41:45 PM »
However, clothing protects skin even better than sunscreen does. 

Not all clothing is the same.  Plain woven, white cotten used for a typical t-shirt has a UPF value of 4 whereas denim is way over UPF 100.

http://sun1.awardspace.com/Sun_Protection/fabrics.htm


Absolutely right. Chip has been sunburned through a well-worn t-shirt before.
Dragons

SC
It will pass. Or not.

whiterose

  • From the good old US of A!
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4448
Re: May is Melanoma Awareness Month
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2010, 07:56:52 PM »
Thank you! I had a basal cell carcinoma in my face that was found 2 years ago. If I did not stay out of the sun and wear sunscreen faithfully, it could have easily been a melanoma- I had a bad sunburn at age 13, which majorly increases your risk. That, and my father had skin cancer in his face. I found the suspicious mole one summer and had it checked- and indeed, it was a basal cell carcinoma. I now get checkups regularly and no new cancerous moles have appeared.

Sadly, I have been flamed for "staying out of the sun in order to keep my skin pale". IIRC, this person may have used tanning beds. I wonder why would someone flame another person for something that affects her and nobody else. Would she have preferred me go out in the sun and possibly risk that basal cell carcinoma have been a melanoma instead?

The father of one of my elementary school classmates passed away of a melanoma- classmate said by the time they found his cancerous mole, it was 4cm large and rather deep. Very sad- he left a wife and four children behind.

There was a story of a lady who died of melanoma but who was kept artificially alive in order to have her unborn baby develop enough. Sadly, the baby died as well.

And skin cancer can happen to anyone, regardless of how much melanin he or she has.
I have pet mice!

Outdoor Girl

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 13765
Re: May is Melanoma Awareness Month
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2010, 06:59:03 PM »
Another survivor here - 11 years, now.

I was only 30 when I noticed a mole I didn't like the look of.  After fighting to find a dermotologist who would agree to a biopsy, it was excised.  I was lucky - it was shallow enough that only the excision was required.

My advice?  You know your own body.  If something feels hinky to you, push until you get someone to listen to you.  I wouldn't be alive now if I hadn't.
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
Ontario

DottyG

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 18204
Re: May is Melanoma Awareness Month
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2010, 07:53:43 PM »
I was only 30 when I noticed a mole I didn't like the look of.

And, to go a little further with this thought, a doctor WANTS to tell you that a spot is nothing.  Let him/her.  Get to know your body.  Know what it looks like.  Know what marks are on it.  If anything at all looks different, make an appointment to see the doctor.

Do not ever feel that you are wasting a doctor's time if you notice a change in your body.  And, that goes for any changes - an odd lump in your breast that you didn't notice a few weeks ago, a change in digestive processes, a pain that's come on in the past month OR A MOLE THAT LOOKS DIFFERENT.

I got (nicely, but still) chastised once for starting to tell my gynocologist that I was sorry I had wasted his time when he determined that a lump in my breast was actually nothing.  He said that he NEVER wanted to hear me apologize like that again - that if I ever noticed a change in my body, I was to come to him and let HIM tell me it's nothing.

My dermatologist has said the same thing.  She's been able to check out several mole changes quickly and let me know that they're ok.

They have the knowledge and background on how to determine what's dangerous and what's not.  Use them.




Samantha

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6824
  • Blah Blah Blah. Insert witty comment here!
Re: May is Melanoma Awareness Month
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2010, 08:08:06 PM »
Thanks for this reminder! I was running around the house this morning in a pair of pajama shorts and a t-shirt, and stopped to say something to my Mom. I have a mole on my upper thigh that has been there ever since I can remember (I remember being selfconscious about it in middle and high school). Mom didn't remember it being there when I was little, but the size of it alarmed her.

I'll call campus health about it tomorrow, to see if they want me to come in, or if I should contact my primary physician.

(C) Get Fuzzy 5.13.07



 


DottyG

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 18204
Re: May is Melanoma Awareness Month
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2010, 12:01:50 PM »
Just bumping this up, because I think it needs to be seen by as many EHellions as possible.