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Are You Mole Aware?

Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is affecting more young people everyday. There are many good sources of information to help people spot the signs of skin cancer early on, but they are hidden away in a scary medical subject that isn’t very approachable, the Big-C scares people the Big-M scares people even more. What happens when the sun sets, does skin cancer go away?

The lack of awareness about skin cancer detection leaves people at risk unsupported and unaware of possible changes happening beneath their skin.

We need to alert young people, professionals and the media alike to help enable early detection through awareness. Just by alerting someone to a funny looking mole you could be helping to save their lives.

Your eyes can save lives

Just think about the following facts for a second …
• Early diagnosis is currently the best action to take to treat a very aggressive form of skin cancer.
• Just by learning 5 simple rules, you can spot Malignant Melanoma either on your own skin or someone else’s skin.
• More young people are being diagnosed with the most aggressive form of skin cancer, Malignant Melanoma, which kills 1 in 4 people living under its shadow.
• Malignant moles can form as a result of UV exposure over many years, typically during childhood; signs don’t usually appear until a person is a teen or young adult.

Toxic SPF

When someone says skin cancer a knee jerk reaction is to go for the sunscreen as a quick fix, it’s a massive industry and often a vital part of protection but do we actually consider how our skin feels about this? We are constantly informed of the very toxic environment in which we live and are encouraged to reduce our intake of toxins, yet every summer millions of us toxify up to enjoy some sun and something about that doesn’t seem right.

I will certainly cause some uproar with this post, and rather than do this on the cusp of summer, it’s probably best to spark this off with the UV index at 1, because doing this in June would be irresponsible.

It’s 2007, it’s time for a different perspective on everything including sunscreen, regardless of if they absorb or reflect UV. Our skin is meant to keep toxins out of our body and although these products must go through vigorous safety checks, it still remains questionable. Would you rub Titanium Dioxide into your skin, and would you rub other lower quantities of similar metals into your two year old’s skin rather than creating shade for them to play in? We are trapped in some very bad thinking, where associations we make with action on skin cancer are very limited in scope. Just as we detox our diets we may need to detox our thoughts and opinions from this time forward in reducing skin cancer cases because have you seen them fall yet? No, thought so, if anything the messages we are getting are doing very little to curb incidence rates of skin cancer and it might not be because we aren’t listening, it could be because we’re ignoring what our bodies are telling us.

Printed so small on the label so you can hardly read it are just some of the chemicals in one of my higher SPF sunscreens: Octocylene, Titanium Dioxide, Benzoate (used as a corrosion inhibitor in anti-freeze products), Potassium, Aluminum Hydroxide, Acrylate Crosspolymer, and it goes on and on.

The number of melanoma patients who have used sunscreens might give some insight into why we need to revisit this issue, perhaps?

Sunscreen remains important, but my E45 cream looks a lot nicer from my skins point of view, is it something we now have to consider, should we put our skin first for a change?

Skin cancer remains cancer of the skin

What a strange thing to say you might be wondering. I just wonder how many people know more about their sunscreen than their skin. Provocative and controversial though it may be to suggest, but skin cancer is not sun cancer, it’s skin cancer, yet most people will miss decades of changes in their skin because the focus is on the sun as it should be, prevention is important. However protect yourself avoid the sun and you are safe, seems to me to be a very dangerous assumption to make and people make it all the time, it’s though after all only half the work you have to do to stay on top of serious skin cancers, not even moles but rashes which don’t fade.

Should we now as educators start moving in the direction of taking this seriously, I mean really seriously, we know about the sun, even if people still want a natural tan at least we all know the risk. What we don’t yet have in place is the notion of how ignorance and delay is the real risk. I openly admit I was blind to the signs of melanoma for too long. Every year counts, every millimeter down counts. Adding a hint of the realness of the cancer may provide more motivation to take prevention seriously, the sunscreen or the huge scar and jokes about being attacked by a shark, it’s really your choice.

There is a notion that skin cancer can be easily treated and yes non-melanoma’s most of the time may entertain that notion, catch a melanoma early enough and the outcome is good, however melanoma is a serious problem and maybe being found too late too often, a cancer that in 1 in 4 cases cannot be treated. Also I might add even newly diagnosed people are unaware just how serious melanoma can be.

We need to abandon the notion that all skin cancers are the same and can be prevented by the same methods. It seems as a nation we are worrying about something which we simply don’t understand whatever age we may be and that is a truly scary notion.

We do need this awareness of how to spot moles which are changing; it can be very difficult to see the back of your body, which is where two mirrors or a partner come in handy. I can assure all you folks out there that the actual process of having a mole removed is quick and simple and there is nothing to fear. As it happens I’m in for a mole removal this Thursday, there are quicker ways of detecting changes and abnormalities in moles without always resorting to biopsy as seen in the article sheding some light on skin cancer , but changes happen over a time period which is greater than just one day. The changes that can signal danger can take decades to show, so are very easily missed … It’s as easy as ABC:
1. Asymmetry
2. Border
3. Color
4. Diameter
5. Elevation/Evolving
Video: How melanoma Spreads http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cancer/MM00638
“Melanoma is dangerous because it can spread beyond what you can see, moving deep into your skin where it can gain access to your lymphatic vessels. This allows cancer cells to travel to distant locations in your body.”

Be mole aware and don’t let this happen. Skin cancer is curable but you must catch it early in its development.

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