Archive for January, 2012

A Majority Of Children Are Not Regularly Using Sunscreen

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

A majority of children are not regularly using sunscreen, ABC News reports. These results were found by a study conducted at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

360 kids who were around 10 years old between 2004 and 2007 [were] surveyed…about whether they ever had sunburns, how much time they spent in the sun and how often they wore sunscreen. The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that more than half the children reported having at least one sunburn the previous summer, and that number was about the same when the children were questioned three years later.

This is clearly a problem, because as we know, sunburns place you at risk for melanoma and other skin cancers. The other issue lies in the fact that good behaviors are generally reinforced in childhood, and if children are not using sunscreen now, they will likely not use it as adults either. By teaching young children the importance of sunscreen and having them use the product, it will naturally become part of their routines.  What the study also showed is that while 50% of the children said they used sunscreen at the beginning of the study, three years later only 25% of them still used it.

Stephen Duza, who led the study, pointed out that, “when you ask kids or teens about tanning, they say people look better with a tan, and tanning has a very positive association in kids of this age, so trying to get them to limit this behavior is a difficult message to get across”. Kids and teens need to see the danger in tanning, and not simply associate it with attractiveness.

Here at MoleSafe, we want to spread the importance of sun safe practices. Targeting children is most definitely one of the important steps in spreading melanoma awareness. This study is important in that it shows how much work we have yet to do. Hopefully soon we will be able to get all children to regularly wear sunscreen and understand its importance.

What do YOU think? Comment below and let us know!


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Zelboraf Side Effects

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Zelboraf has been hailed as a possible miracle drug for melanoma patients. Unfortunately, there may be a serious side effect which could prevent patients from taking it, USA Today is reporting.

“…roughly one-quarter of patients who take the medication develop a troublesome side effect: secondary skin cancers called squamous cell carcinomas,” the article states. Researchers at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California: Los Angeles are looking into this new finding.  Dr. Antoni Ribas said:

What we found is that vemurafenib blocks the mutation that makes the melanoma grow, but when patients have skin cells with another mutation that’s probably induced from sun exposure, there the drug has the exact opposite effect and causes these squamous cell cancers to grow.

The findings led to what may be an even more effective way to treat melanoma, however. The researchers think that by combining vemurafenib, which is a BRAF inhibitor, with an MEK inhibitor they may be able to block the mutation, thus preventing the side effect. “It needs to be demonstrated in clinical trials, but the theory is that if we give these two medications together up front, we will be punching the melanoma where it really hurts twice, and also preventing the growth of secondary skin cancers,” said Ribas.

For the study, the researchers analyzed squamous cell lesions in patients taking vemurafenib. They were looking for genetic mutations. Out of 21 tumor samples, 13 had an RAS mutation, which places someone at risk to develop squamous cell cancer. In another set of samples 8 out of 14 had RAS mutations.

The scientists then tested mice, and were able to successfully block the growth of squamous cell cancer using BRAF and MEK inhibitors together. This experiment would obviously need to be transferred to humans so that researchers would know for sure if humans were affected.

Dr. Ribas also points out that these findings could help with other cancers as well. He said that, “what this data also warns us is that we have to be very careful about using BRAF inhibitors in a setting where we don’t know what other mutations may be driving (the cancer)”. We at MoleSafe think that they should keep up the good work!

What do YOU think? Comment below and let us know!

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Could Estrogen Cause A Recurrence Of Melanoma?

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

New studies have shown that anti-estrogen therapy may help to lower the risk of melanoma, the Cancer Network reports. Medication such as Tamoxifen, which lowers estrogen amounts in the body, and has been used for breast cancer patients, may also be helping to fight melanoma.

 In a study of 7,360 women diagnosed with breast cancer between 1980 and 2005, 54% were given supplemental antiestrogen therapy. The rate of cutaneous melanoma was 60% higher for those women not taking antiestrogen supplements compared with the expected rate of melanoma incidence based on age and other factors.

The article points out that melanoma incidence varies between men and women. Women generally contract melanoma during their reproductive years, between puberty and menopause. Women also generally have a better prognosis. “Melanoma and benign nevi have been shown to express estrogen-binding receptors, and sex hormones can be associated with increased melanocyte proliferation, which is associated with early-stage melanoma. Both of these observations suggest a link between sex hormones and melanoma development”, the article stated.

As pointed out in an article on Daily  RX, these results still need to be further tested and researched. Dr. Christine Bouchardy, of the Institute for Social and Preventative Medicine at the University of Geneva, who led the study said that, “These results need to be replicated in other studies, particularly given the numerous side effects linked to this kind of drug”.  In other words, she does not think it wise for people to just assume that these anti-estrogen drugs will help melanoma.  Testing must still be done.

This is the first study which has delved into a link between melanoma and estrogen. As scientist look further into this link, they may be able to find even larger clues as to how we can beat this cancer. MoleSafe hopes they do!

What do YOU think? Leave some comments and let us know!


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New Year, New Skin Safety Practices

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Happy New Year! With the ushering in of 2012, we at MoleSafe decided that now was a great time to remind everyone of safe sun practices. After all, the start of a new year means new resolutions, and what better resolution is there then promising to protect your skin? Preventing skin cancer and melanoma is the first step, and while skin cancer is not 100 percent preventable, there are a lot of things that you can do to help your odds.

The Melanoma Research Foundation reminds us that, “Approximately 65 percent of melanomas—the most deadly form of skin cancer and one of the fastest growing cancers in the United States—are attributed to ultraviolet (UV) exposure from sunlight or artificial sources such as tanning beds”. They go on to say that although melanoma can develop on areas of the body not exposed to the sun, your best bet is to slather on the sunscreen. This applies to even the cloudiest of days.  Specifically they ask that we:

  • Be sure to use a sunscreen that provides broad-spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Look for ingredients in your sunscreen such as titanium dioxide and mexoryl, which block UVA rays better.
  • Use enough sunscreen. To protect your entire body, use approximately an ounce of sunscreen (about a full shot glass) and apply it at least 20 minutes before sun exposure.
  • Re-apply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming or sweating, even if the bottle says it’s waterproof or long lasting.
  • Remember, wearing sunscreen is not a blank check for spending unlimited time in the sun. Sunscreen is just one component of sun safety.
Protection doesn’t end at the sunscreen however. The American Cancer Society reminds us to cover up! Slapping on a hat and sunglasses on top of sunscreen adds even one more layer of protection. Clothing can also be worn to block out some UV rays. The society reminds us to be wary however because, “If you can see light through a fabric, UV rays can get through, too. Be aware that covering up doesn’t block out all UV rays”.

We are also reminded to limit our sun exposure during the midday sun. At this time of day, the sun is at its strongest and is most harmful to us. The specific hours for this time  are between 10am and 4pm. If you are planning on spending a long amount of time outdoors during these hours, check out a UV Index to see how at risk you are.

So take these helpful tips and adapt them to your routines in this new year. We hope you have a safe and healthy 2012!
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