Education, prevention and support for the most serious form of skin cancer.

Georgetown investigates myths and facts of indoor tanning

November 9th, 2015

Georgetown Tanning GraphicIt’s a well-known and documented fact that excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays has adverse effects on your health. Despite knowledge of these risks, indoor tanning studios haven’t gone out of business. Nursing@Georgetown, Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies’ Online Master of Science degree in Nursing program, developed an interactive graphic, to illustrate misconceptions surrounding indoor tanning and how dangerous this activity actually is.

They decided to investigate tanning because, among the causes of cancer, it seems to be one that is actually gaining popularity. For example, the number of people who tan has not followed the trend of smoking, which has been whittled down to a core group of smokers. Tanning rates are high among young women in particular, and Nursing@Georgetown hopes the interactive graphic reaches young people who might know in the back of their head that tanning is dangerous, but find the peer pressure substantial enough to overwhelm their common sense.

Who Is Tanning?

In the 2010 National Health Interview survey, 5.6 percent of adults reported using indoor tanning devices during the previous year. The highest prevalence of indoor tanning (32 percent) was among white women ages 18 to 21, followed by white women ages 22 to 25 (30 percent). Additionally, 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System data showed that 13 percent of high school students had used an indoor tanning device in the previous year. The highest prevalence of tanning was among older, white, female high school students. However, it’s not just women who are using indoor tanning devices: Another study found that 39 percent of men younger than 40 tan at some point in their lives.

What Are the Risks Associated With Indoor Tanning?

There are tremendous risks associated with indoor tanning. Using an indoor tanning device even once is associated with a 20 percent increase in the risk of developing melanoma. Indoor tanning before age 35 is associated with an 87 percent increase in the risk of developing melanoma, and the risk increases 1.8 percent with each additional indoor tanning session per year. Additionally, men are less likely to use sunscreen than women and are approximately twice as likely to die from melanoma than women.

Where Do People Tan?

There are more tanning facilities in cities with higher percentages of white residents and lower UV indexes. Nationwide, the number of indoor tanning facilities outnumbers Starbucks Cafes.

When Do People Tan?

Teenagers and adults are most likely to tan in preparation for special events, such as formal dances, weddings, and vacations.

Why Do People Tan?

There are a variety of reasons that people tan, some of which are associated with misconceptions of the true dangers of UV rays. There is a false perception that obtaining a “base tan” will prevent future sunburns, but one study found that indoor tanning was actually associated with a marginal increase in the risk of burn. Additionally, some believe that people look better with a tan and that there are associated health benefits. Finally, poor body image, depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder, behavioral addiction, and social influences have an impact on if and when an individual uses an indoor tanning device.

Visit the original blog post for more research and full citations.

Why Sun-Protective Clothing Isn’t Just For Summer

October 19th, 2015

Hopefully you remember to put on high quality sunscreen and wear sun-protective clothing during the summer. But what about the rest of the year? If you think you’re safe from the sun just because it’s cold or cloudy, think again.

Today I’ll reveal the truth about the importance of sun protection throughout the year. I’ll bust a few commonly held myths and help you understand why you need to be aware of the sun throughout the year.
What Causes Sunburn?

Surprise: It’s not the sun!

Well it is, but not necessarily in the way that most people imagine.

Many people believe that if it’s cloudy and they can’t see the sun, there’s no risk of sunburn. They think that their skin won’t be sun damaged if there’s no visible sun. Unfortunately, this is a very common and potentially dangerous misconception.

Even when you can’t see the sun, it’s still there– obviously. The sun provides heat and light through several different forms of energy. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is just one form of energy from the sun. But it’s what causes sunburns and other damage to your skin.

UV radiation is completely invisible to our eyes. But it’s always there and it’s always doing damage to your skin– unless you protect yourself
What About Cold & Cloudy Weather?CloudyWeather

Despite another common misconception, there’s no connection between temperature and UV radiation, according to a study by the Australian government.

Even during the colder months of fall and winter when temperatures are lower, UV radiation still reaches your skin and can cause sunburn, eye damage, and skin cancer, among other ailments.

Surprisingly, some types of clouds can actually intensify UV radiation, making the danger to your skin higher than if there were no clouds at all.
How About Snow?

When UV raSnowys come into contact with snow, they bounce back up. That means you’ll receive extra UV radiation. It’s like a mirror on the ground, reflecting and intensifying UV radiation.

Because the reflected rays are coming from an unusual angle, we often forget to protect ourselves. Skiers and snowboarders should wear full-coverage snow goggles to prevent a condition known as snow-blindness.

Sun-Protective Fashion: Year Round!

Specially designed sun-protective clothing with a high UPF is a great way to protect your skin from sunburn and damage throughout the year.

Sun-protective clothing only works when you actually wear it. At SUMMERSKIN, we believe that sun-protective clothing needs to be something that you actually want to wear.

If you don’t like how a piece of sun-protective clothing looks, fits, or feels, you’re not going to want to wear it. That’s why we design our pieces to have both form and function.

That’s why we try to create pieces of clothing that look great all year round.Fashion
Respect the Sun– Don’t Be Afraid of It

The Sun can do real damage to your skin and to your health, but that doesn’t mean you need to fear the sun. You just need to respect it.

Just remember to wear the proper sun-protective clothing and sunscreen– no matter what time of year it is.

About SUMMERSKIN

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The SUSummerSkinPhotoMMERSKIN journey began in 2007, when founder Summer Kramer was diagnosed with melanoma on her lower left leg. Fortunately, she caught the cancerous mole very early, but it changed her life forever.

Following the surgery, and at her dermatologists recommendation, Summer rolled down her sleeves and started an exhaustive search for fun, stylish sun protective clothing.

To her dismay, all she could find were clothes that were either specifically designed for an outdoor activity — like running or surfing — or styles that targeted an older demographic.

What she wanted was stylish apparel that would protect her skin from harmful UV rays, while still maintaining a sense of versatility and expression. Something she could feel confident wearing to a picnic or an outdoor function, or just walking around the city.

And just like that, the idea for SUMMERSKIN was born.

SUMMERSKIN exists to bring health, happiness, and fun to your everyday lifestyle. We provide stylish sun protective apparel and accessories so people can have fun in the sun while protecting their skin and health.

With this purpose at our core, our 10-year vision is to reach 10 million people and increase awareness about the importance of sun protection.

Mike Trombley’s Experience with Basal Cell Carcinoma

May 4th, 2015

miketrombleyEver since I was a kid, I loved playing outside. Almost every day you could find me throwing a baseball or football or hitting a golf ball. I was lucky enough to be able to do that for a living for almost 20 years. I played professional baseball from 1989-2002 with the Minnesota Twins, Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers. After my baseball career ended in 2002, I played on the Celebrity Golfer Tour until 2008. What a great gig! Being in the sun all day was just up my alley.

Trombley-8511In 2001 with the Orioles, the Johns Hopkins Cancer Center was offering free skin cancer screenings for the team. As usual, I made excuses to myself not do it. I was only 33 years old. I never felt stronger and healthier in my life. Older people get skin cancer. But, I agreed to do it only because of all the screenings I had turned down in the past. The doctors immediately expressed concern to an area beneath my right eye. The next day I was at Johns Hopkins having the growth biopsied. It was diagnosed as basal cell carcinoma (BCC). Within 2 days, I had a nickel sized circle cut out of my cheek to remove the entire growth. 10 stitches later and I was back playing. The doctors urged me to stay committed to skin cancer screenings and to never go without sunscreen.

Before that day I had always made excuses to ignore certain problems. I was the kind of guy to overlook health related issues. Since that day I realized that early detection is the key to prevention in almost all health related problems. Many of my former MLB teammates and opponents have had similar skin problems. Some a lot worse! What would have happened if I continued making up excuses to not do the screening?

-Mike Trombley

IMPACT Melanoma’s Day at the Hill

March 31st, 2015

While we like to keep our feet on the ground at home with regional support groups and community events for anyone who has been affected by melanoma, we also know how important it is to never lose sight of the big picture: advocating for nationwide – and worldwide – improvements in melanoma research, prevention, and education. That’s why we recently headed to the capitol to make our mark on the 2015 Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) Advocacy Summit & Hill Day, an event that brought IMPACT Melanoma and many other advocates face to face with some of our nation’s top legislative leaders.

Our first day in Washington was spent discussing our goals with other participants, finding a common ground, and learning more about the legislative process. With an ambitious audience made up of survivors, family members, and community leaders from all over the country, we were off to a great start, but to make a lasting impression, we needed to present a united front for real change in the way we prevent, treat, and think about melanoma.

Exploring what works in the world of prevention, IMPACT Melanoma’s Meghan Rothschild presented the Your Skin Is In and Skinny On Skin programs and the #GetItChecked social media campaign. After they took off in our own communities within New England, we wanted our forward-thinking initiatives to inspire similar ventures in other states and on the national stage.

With the ultimate objectives of the event being improvements in funding and legislation, we also wanted to play a bigger role in setting Hill Day up for successful results. Serving on a panel discussion, we answered questions and shared tips on what to expect from testifying for tanning bed legislation. Together with other advocates on the panel, we hoped that our expertise would help the event’s less experienced participants find a voice during the following day’s meetings with high-profile legislative leaders.

Ending advocacy training on a high note, we were ready to bring our concerns to Capitol Hill, the heart of the American legislative process. Along with other members of today’s diverse melanoma community, we had a chance to meet with individual senators and representatives to talk about issues that we feel deserve national attention. While the MRF also advocated for additional funding, we kept our focus on promoting legislation that would ban the use of tanning beds for minors under the age of 18, a measure that could prevent lifelong skin damage in younger age groups.

As we continue to make a positive impact throughout New England (and eventually all of the US), participating in events like Hill Day allows us to also remain on the front lines of raising awareness of melanoma and other skin cancers. Although much more work remains to be done, every step forward brings us closer to saving more lives and making melanoma history.

Constant Contact InnoLoft Program

February 26th, 2015

IMPACT Melanoma chosen for small business residency program in Waltham

Constant Contact’s Small Business Innovation Program is a residency designed to help startups drive new business with whole-spectrum marketing solutions. At IMPACT Melanoma, we’ll reap the benefits of this opportunity for a four-month residency at the Innovation Loft (InnoLoft). We look forward to the substantial growth and expansion opportunities afforded by the program.

What Happens at the InnoLoft?

Residency at the Constant Contact InnoLoft means access to the company’s myriad resources to solve a variety of small business problems. The InnoLoft takes up 30,000 square feet of space and is touted by the company as a test kitchen, lab, playroom, launch pad, business school, and safe space all rolled into one. We’re proud to be the only non-profit organization chosen to take up residence at the InnoLoft.

During the program, our staff will learn about innovative marketing tactics to help drive interest in IMPACT Melanoma and will have access to the tools we need to attract new supporters and donors. We’ll also be competing with the other four participating companies to earn one of two extended residencies at the InnoLoft, courtesy of Constant Contact. For participating, our team will receive consulting, residence, and workspace at the InnoLoft, as well as mentors in the local venture capital and angel communities.

In addition to all the support and access to resources, the Innovation Program invites industry leaders to work with residency participants. Having access to successful entrepreneurs is a great way for participants to learn how to grow their organizations. Taking advantage of creative synergy is considered one of the most important benefits of working at the InnoLoft.

Looking Ahead With IMPACT Melanoma

For the IMPACT Melanoma team, residency at the InnoLoft means more than just access to resources. It means new opportunities to market the organization and build our education programs. We’ll be able to learn how to make the most of our marketing efforts so we can ensure that as many people in the greater New England area as possible will be aware of and have access to our support, information, and educational programs. We’ll use the resources to expand the reach of our organization by using technology to the reach of our award-winning programs

Learning how to successfully build and grow our organization is also one of our top priorities. We’re eager to learn new troubleshooting strategies that will assist us as we strive toward becoming a wide-reaching, efficient voice in the fight against melanoma.

Tanning Bed Regulations: How States Are Taking Action

February 17th, 2015

Regular use of tanning beds greatly increases your risk of melanomaYou might consider a tanning bed as your ticket to a perfect winter body, but overexposure to any form of ultraviolet (UV) light during your teens and in young adulthood can greatly increase your chances of getting skin cancer later in life. In fact, the increased risk of melanoma associated with tanning bed use is 59% for people whose first exposure to artificial UV rays in a tanning bed occurred before age 35 years. That risk increases with the number of tanning bed sessions per year. Because of these serious risks, policymakers in most states are cracking down on the use of tanning beds by minors.

Regulating Risk: Most States Are Taking Action

Although specific tanning bed regulations differ among states, there’s a serious nation-wide movement against allowing minors access to dangerous indoor tanning. At least 41 states have passed some type of legislation that regulates minors using tanning beds. Some areas make policies at the county or city level, including Howard County, Maryland; Danvers, Massachusetts; and Chicago, Illinois. Vermont, Oregon, Minnesota, California, Delaware, Louisiana, Illinois, Texas, and Oregon ban the use of tanning facilities by anyone under 18 years of age state-wide. Since both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers are common, and both are linked to UV light and sun exposure, enacting measures that discourage the use of indoor tanning devices could potentially prevent a significant number of cases.

The Melanoma Foundation of New England will be represented in DC this March to help testify in support of tanning legislation. The event, known as the Melanoma Research Foundation’s Day on the Hill, has been organized by the Melanoma Research Center. You can learn more here.

It’s OK to Wear White in Winter

When someone mentions skin cancer risk due to sun exposure, baking on the beach in summer is generally what comes to mind. Unfortunately, once summer is over, many people, especially young females, turn to indoor tanning to maintain their deep summer tans. A dramatic uptick in tanning bed use occurs in the winter months. The younger you are, the more danger you face, but the use of tanning beds doesn’t just raise your cancer risk; it can also cause signs of premature aging. UV rays can also cause irreversible eye damage, and they can even suppress your immune function and leave you vulnerable to a number of diseases, including various types of cancer. Don’t become a skin cancer statistic. Embrace your light-colored, healthy skin, and live to enjoy more summers instead of taking on the golden hue of serious cell damage.

Now’s the Time to Take Action and Be Part of the Solution

Your Skin Is In is an educational, pledge-based program and contest that encourages teens and young adults to make a personal promise that they will protect the skin they’re in. Over the past 8 years, IMPACT melanoma has traveled all over, exposing over 100,000 students to this educational program. Get started by pledging here.

If You Have Questions About Tanning and Melanoma Risk, We Can Help

At IMPACT Melanoma, we provide a variety of educational programs that focus on early detection and treatment of skin cancer in people of all ages. Head over to our main page for more skin cancer facts, support groups, and free one-on-one patient advocacy services.

Skinny on Skin Program

February 12th, 2015

Training salon professionals to recognize skin cancer

Being a salon professional puts you in a unique position to potentially save your client’s lives. Skin cancer manifests in many ways, and with the Skinny on Skin program offered by IMPACT Melanoma, you can learn to recognize the signs and alert your customers to the potential problem before it becomes serious.

Skinny on Skin program

The Unique Advantage of Salon Training

Early detection of melanoma increases a patient’s survival rate, and your clients see you far more often than they see their doctor. No matter what salon or beauty service you’re providing, you’re looking at places that aren’t examined on a regular basis. They might not even know they have the beginnings of skin cancer if an abnormal lesion is located underneath their hair or on their back. Even areas that clients do look at every day may be neglected since they’re used to their bodies and tend to overlook speckles or spots that “have always been there.”

Spotting Suspicious Spots

The Skinny on Skin program helps reduce the morality rate of head and scalp melanomaThe Skinny on Skin program provides melanoma information and support to salon professionals, allowing you to help your clients with health as well as beauty. Using medical training methods, the program teaches you how to spot abnormal moles or other marks that could be the beginnings of a malignant condition. Since the lesions aren’t usually discovered until the late stages, the mortality rate for head and scalp melanoma is particularly high. Detecting potentially dangerous spots in these hard-to-see areas can be invaluable in terms of patient survival.

Communicating With Clients

If you do discover a mark that could be skin cancer, the Skinny on Skin program prepares you to talk to your clients about it. The idea of having any type of cancer can be a scary thing, and clients need to understand that you’re not diagnosing them, just offering advice on how to proceed. After attending this helpful program, you’ll know what to say so that your clients walk away without feeling distressed or upset.

To register for the latest Skinny on Skin training events, click here. These free events are open to New England-area salon professionals and are held in several convenient locations. On Monday, February 2 from 3pm to 5pm, join us at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. For those in Maine, a session will be held on Monday, March 23 from 12pm to 2pm at Southern Maine Health Care in Biddeford Medical Center. See our training schedule for more upcoming dates.

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