About this blog...

Welcome to The Melanoma Updates Blog. This blog is intended to inform and update you on the latest developing information and technology on skin cancer prevention and detection. Dr. Bezozo, President and CEO of MoleSafe http://www.molesafe.com USA, is encouraging conversations on the topic of melanoma - the most threatening and deadliest form of skin cancer that is increasingly diagnosed each year in the U.S. Understanding first-hand how scary the disease is, Dr. B would like to hear your stories and questions about melanoma, while developing conversations that help the at-risk population manage their melanoma concerns.

*MoleSafe USA is the only early detection skin cancer system that detects melanomas up to 15 times earlier than all other traditional examinations done throughout the country.

Banana Peels Can Identify The Stages Of Melanoma

February 10th, 2016

This week, Phys.org reported on a study which found that banana peels can identify the stages of melanoma.  Apparently, human skin and banana peels produce the same enzyme when they are attacked.  By studying bananas scientists have found a method for diagnosing the stages of this skin cancer.

The black spots familiar to aging bananas are caused by the enzyme tyrosinase. This enzyme causes the natural browning process common in some foods. This same enzyme also causes the tell tale spots of melanoma due to the disruption of the regulation of the enzyme. This causes the pigmentation of the skin by melanin to be disrupted, which takes away the body’s natural defense from the sun. From this connection, a new imaging technique was born.

This new technique measures the tyrosinase levels and how it is distributed in human skin. It was found that the level of tyrosinase was parallel with the stage of the cancer. Stage 1 was barely any spots, an increase by stage 2 with even distribution, and uneven distribution by stage 3.  The team determined that this enzyme was a reliable growth marker.

The team eventually hopes that scanners will be able to be used for tyrosinase levels, thus eliminating the need for biopsies.

We  at Molesafe are excited to find that bananas can be such an important fruit.

What do YOU think? Let us know below!

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Indoor Tanning Teens Are Six Times More Likely To Get Skin Cancer

January 28th, 2016

This week, The Sun reported on a study which found that many women who are under 40 and have melanoma started tanning with sun beds at an early age. The findings were published online by the JAMA Dermatology journal. The risk of developing melanoma is two to six times more likely for indoor tanners.

The study looked at the chances  of the disease in correlation with how often the person indoor tanned and at what age they started. 681 melanoma patients were compared with 654 non-melanoma skin cancer  patients. The melanoma patients started indoor tanning at a younger age, 16 compared to 25 for the other group. The melanoma group also reported tanning more frequently.

One third of the women who had skin cancer before 30 had melanoma while only one in four women had melanoma when diagnosed after 40.  Of the 63 women with melanoma under 30, all but two reported that they had participated in indoor tanning.

Study leaders hope that this will curb teens from starting to tan, and help progress legislation for banning teens from indoor tanning.

We at Molesafe find this information to be extremely important to remind us all how damaging indoor tanning is.

What do YOU think? Let us know below!

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Melanoma May Be Deadlier For Pregnant Women

January 21st, 2016

This week, livescience reported that pregnant women with melanoma have a greater chance of dying than women who are not pregnant. A study found that women who were pregnant when they contracted melanoma or within one year of their pregnancy were five times more likely to die from the cancer than women who were not.

The statistic also tied into metastasis, with pregnant women seven times more likely to have a metastatic cancer, and cancer recurrence. Pregnant women were nine times more likely to have a recurrence over the next 7.5 years. Researchers were very surprised by their findings which looked at 462 women who had melanoma and were younger than 50. 41 of those women had been pregnant or were within one year post pregnancy when they were diagnosed.  20% of these women died from melanoma when compared to only 10% from the non-pregnant category.

The researchers want to clarify that pregnant women are not more likely to contract melanoma, but pregnancy seems to lead to a more aggressive form of the cancer. They are unsure why this is, but seem to think that hormones have something to do with it.

The researchers say that the study serves as a reminder that young women need to be vigilant about their sun safety and getting their skin checked.

We at Molesafe agree that young women need to be taking extra care of their skin.

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FDA Proposes Ban On Indoor Tanning For Minors

January 7th, 2016

As 2015 came to a close, the New York Times  reported on the FDA’s action to ban indoor tanning for minors. That means that everyone under the age of 18 would be unable to access tanning beds. Doctors and researchers agree that this is a big step towards  taking action against skin cancer.

Unfortunately, indoor tanning was not always thought to be a major player in rising skin cancer incidents, but after a review of scientific research found that 400,000 cases of skin cancer in the U.S. were due to the beds they decided to take action. 6,000 of those cases were melanoma.

Melanoma rates have rose about 3% each year for the last few decades, and doctors worry that tanning beds are still popular. Some states have already taken action by banning tanning salons for minors, but the FDA felt it was time to make the law a national one.

The medical world is very happy with this decision. They feel that this will be a big step in taking down those skin cancer statistics. The FDA plans to use state authorities to enforce the new rules if they become final. Young people are most at risk for their chances of melanoma jump drastically if they have used a tanning bed before the age of 35.

The proposal will be open for 90 days, and if approved would affect 18,000 to 19,000 tanning salons as well as another 20,000 facilities such as health clubs. 1.6 million minors indoor tan every year, and this would end that number.

We at MoleSafe support this movement by the FDA. It will start saving lives immediately.

What do YOU think? Let us know below!

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Yale ‘Dream Team’ Created To Fight Skin Cancer

December 3rd, 2015

This week, the New Haven Register reported that Yale University has formed a medical ‘dream team’ to fight skin cancer.  The team is being led by Dr. Patricia LoRusso, who is associate director of innovative medicine at the Yale Cancer Center. She is being joined by Jeffrey Trent, who is president and research director for the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix. Stand Up To Cancer and the Melanoma Research Alliance are sponsoring the team.

The team is looking at melanoma patients that do not have the BRAF mutation. These patients often have no treatments available to them if immune therapy has failed. They are trying to find current treatments that are already  on the market to help these patients.  The goal would be to find other mutations other than BRAF that could be targeted.

We at MoleSafe hope this team is able to accomplish their dreams.

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Sun Protection Tips For Winter Vacations

November 20th, 2015

This week, Health News Digest reported on some sun safety tips that will be important during the winter months while on vacation.  Melanoma is often linked with intense sun exposure, which is usually what people experience during these times.  Evading sunburn is especially key here, because more than 5 sunburns doubles someone’s risk for melanoma.

Avoiding a “base tan” or “base burn” is especially important. This is an extremely unhealthy way to try and achieve some color, and more importantly does not really exist.  Avoiding a tan or a burn is the only real way to protect yourself.

The Skin Cancer Foundation suggests you protect yourself by covering up, shielding your face, seeking shade, watching reflection, applying sunscreen, and simply avoiding tanning.  These steps are pretty easy to do and remember. Many involve simple things such as remembering protective clothing, hats, and umbrellas. In the short run they will also improve your vacation time, as no one likes a nasty sunburn while away on vacation.

We at MoleSafe think these are great tips that should be remembered year round.

What do YOU think? Let us know below!

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Unraveling Melanoma

November 5th, 2015

This week, BU Today reported on doctor Anurag Singh, who with a three year grant from the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) has been studying  NRAS in melanoma.  NRAS is a mutated gene in 20 percent of melanoma which currently has no treatment.

RAS genes are names for “rat sarcoma”, because they were first found in rats. The genes are part of a group of molecules called G proteins.  G proteins signal within cells, and there are about 200 of them.  They can all be activated on, but then turn themselves off without activation.

Mutant forms of these genes, such as the ones in melanoma, can’t seem to turn themselves off.  This confusion can cause rapid cell multiplication or at other times can cause cancer cells to not decompose.

Singh’s lab studies how two forms of the RAS gene, NRAS and KRAS, interact and cooperate with other genes to form gene networks, analogous to computer circuits. The RAS mutations prevalent in melanoma also appear in pancreatic and colon cancer. Singh has already discovered that melanomas with NRAS mutations come in at least two different flavors. “We have identified two major types of NRAS networks in melanoma,” he says. “We hypothesize that these subtypes can be treated with selective targeted anticancer agents or precision medicines. We hope to pinpoint vulnerabilities that can be blocked with chemotherapy.

Singh is also interested in how cells communicate, and hopes  that this will help us to understand how and why cancers grow.

We at MoleSafe applaud Dr. Singh for looking into these mutations. This information will ultimately lead to solving the mysteries of melanoma.

What do YOU think? Let us know below!

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New Melanoma Drug Uses Tumor-Busting Virus

October 28th, 2015

This week, NBC News reported on a new drug that was just approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The drug is a genetically engineered herpes virus that breaks up melanoma tumors. It is the first drug of its kind to be approved.

The drug is called Imlygic. It has not been shown to cure patients of the disease, but has been shown to provide relief. In order for the drug to be approved, the FDA looked at a study of 436 people who had tumors which were injected with the drug. These people had advanced stages of the disease. 16.3% of these people showed a decrease in the size of their lesions. This lasted for a minimum of six months.

Amgen makes the drug, and is hoping to have it available within a week.  The therapy will cost around $65,000, but Amgen hopes to work with patients to keep the costs down.

We at MoleSafe are excited about this new prospect. Hopefully it will provide comfort for melanoma patients.

What do YOU think? Let us know below!

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Do Antioxidants Facilitate Melanoma Metastasis?

October 15th, 2015

The Scientist reported on a study which found that antioxidants may be capable of causing melanoma to metastasis. The study was conducted at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, using mice. Mice with melanoma were given antioxidant supplements and it was found that these mice developed double the amount of lymph node metastasis than mice who were not given the supplement.

Study coauthor Martin Bergo believes that the study should make people with melanoma on high alert of the possible risks of antioxidants. The study also means that antioxidants need to be studied further to determine when they are good and when they are bad.

This is the second time now that antioxidants have been shown to increase growth of tumors. Similar results were found when studying lung cancer, but we also know that antioxidants can do good, such as decrease the levels of reactive oxygen species which can damage DNA. The lung study was also done with human cells, after the mice, and had similar results.

In the melanoma study, the antioxidants seemed to increase levels of reduced glutathione and increasing levels of rhoA. This means that the antioxidants can progress cancer through two different means.

Although further studies need to be conducted, the team feels that this may eventually lead to new dietary guidelines for cancer patients.

We at MoleSafe think this is a bold new finding. We hope that the team will be able to find more information on this topic.

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FDA Approves Bristol-Meyers’ Melanoma Therapy

October 1st, 2015

This week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had approved Bristol-Meyers’ new combination melanoma treatment. This treatment uses the company’s drugs Yervoy and Opdivo. The first year of treatment will cost more than $250,000.

Both Yervoy and Opdivo had previously been approved individually by the FDA as immunotherapy treatment. A study conducted by Bristol-Meyers found that the combination  decreased tumors in 60% of patients as opposed to only 11% in patients taking Yervoy alone. The combination does however increase the effects of side effects such as colitis.

Yervoy is given in four set treatments over 12 weeks, and Opdivo  is taken until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.

We at MoleSafe hope that this treatment proves to be successful. This could be a big step towards beating melanoma.

What do YOU think? Let us know below!

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