Monday, August 26, 2013

8 for August: Melanoma surgeon turned patient, the "base tan" myth, and more

Lots of skin cancer articles in the news recently. Here are a few worth sharing:

1. In his LA Times article, "My melanoma, my message," surgical oncologist Travis Kidner shares what it's like to go from being a melanoma doctor to a melanoma patient. After his surgery for stage I melanoma, he says, "On my first day back at work, I saw four new patients with melanoma who were under age 46. My job as a doctor is to do everything possible to cure them. But as a survivor, I also feel a huge responsibility to prevent new cases... We need to get the word out: Tanning kills."

2. This USA Today article discusses state and federal regulation changes on indoor tanning that may help curb increasing young adult skin cancer rates. The article also mentions a social backlash against tanning, which includes a quick reference to Pretty in Pale, "a popular blog [that] raises awareness about melanoma and helps young women love the skin they were born with."

3. A new report in JAMA Internal Medicine that says about 29 percent of white high school students are still using tanning beds. With melanoma rates raising steadily at about 3 percent per year, this has a number of doctors worried.

4. Mary Elizabeth Williams gives a candid, moving glimpse into her experience with stage IV melanoma on the SU2C blog. A quick snippet: "All I knew was that it had to very, very bad for there to be no Stage 5."

5. A new study at Yale's School of Public Health helps validate previous claims that tanning is addictive. A number of people in the study continued to use tanning beds even after being diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma. About half of them, according to the article, exhibited classic signs of dependence.

6. I've blogged about the "base tan" myth before, but now there's new evidence to suggest tanning before a vacation may actually increase your risk of burning.

7. Illinois is the latest state to sign into law a ban on indoor tanning beds for teenagers.

8. Want to increase your chance of detecting a malignant mole early? Look at pictures of skin cancer online. A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology in July indicates that people who see pictures of skin cancer may be more likely to do their own skin examinations. Find lots of helpful images on The Skin Cancer Foundation website.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Miley Cyrus strips down to promote skin cancer awareness

In case you missed it, Miley Cyrus is running around naked again, but this time for a worthy cause: melanoma research. Miley is the newest face of Marc Jacob's "Protect the skin you're in" campaign, which benefits the NYU Skin Cancer Institute. While I probably won't be rushing out to buy a Miley shirt any time soon, I love these tees, and there are plenty of other celebs to choose from (Heidi Klum, Victoria Beckham, and Naomi Campbell just to name a few).

What do you think of these shirts? Would you wear one?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My best friend's wedding

Mr. and Mrs. McDaniel.

My BFF since high school got married over the weekend! I survived with only minor injuries: a champagne bottle prematurely exploded on my thumb while we were getting our hair and makeup done and then I stepped on a shard of glass at the reception (dropping your wine glass on the dance floor is such a party foul, people!)

Even though much of my spring and summer have been full of weddings and wedding-related activities (exhibits A, B, C, and D), I'm still such a newbie at the whole wedding thing. When Liz asked me to be her maid of honor, I had never been in a wedding party before. Clueless but determined to be the best MOH I could be, I ordered books from with titles like The Knot Bridesmaid Handbook: Help the Bride Shine Without Losing Your Mind. Despite months of preparation, I still don't think I was prepared for how emotional I would be on Saturday. Aside from being pee-my-pants nervous for giving my toast, there's something to be said about seeing your close friends so incredibly happy and in love. Basically, it was a blast, and I feel very blessed to have such wonderful friends.

I will stop being such a cheeseball now. Just needed to get it out of my system. I didn't take any photos at the wedding because my phone was shoved in the back of a locker, but here are a few I snagged from the photo booth. P.S. Loved my eggplant-colored bridesmaid dress-- I'm actually looking forward to wearing it again. Oh, and Tim: Thank you for being the best wedding date ever.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Birthday weekend recap

Birthday weekend kicked off a day early this year. Tim surprised me by sending flowers to my office last Wednesday. I took a half day at work on Thursday and he didn't want them to miss me, so he sent them a day early. I was totally surprised. Boys: there's nothing that will put a smile on a girl's face like sending her a bouquet of roses. On my actual birthday, I left work early and treated myself to a facial and massage (if you live in the Portland area, the ladies at Zara Clinic are beyond amazing). From there, I stopped by my parent's house to pick up a few more b-day goodies, and then Tim took me to dinner at a nice steak house downtown. With all the weddings and events going on this summer, I opted to keep things relatively low key this year, but I felt very loved and spoiled, which is all a girl can ask for, right?

Debbie, me, and my mom at dinner.

On Friday, I met up with my girlfriends and we did a three-course "fondue experience" dinner. I eat cheese fondue all the time, but I've never done one of those entrees where they give you raw meat and you cook it on your table. It was a riot. I'm surprised none of us got food poisoning from eating undercooked chicken.

Caramel, chocolate, and cheesecake-flavored fondue.

Aside from submitting a comment to the FDA last week in support of reclassifying tanning beds, I've been relatively inactive in the melanoma/skin cancer arena lately. At points last spring, it became all consuming--testifying down in Salem and planning the Portland Melanoma Walk. As with anything, I think we all just sometimes need a break from things. I just need to allow myself to fully relax and not carry the burden of needing to be doing something all the time. Something to work on for "27" perhaps?