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.