Melanoma Monday

melanoma

 

May is designated as National Melanoma Month.   Included in that designation is National Melanoma Monday, which is the first Monday in May.  The American Academy of Dermatology has set aside this day to raise awareness about skin cancer.

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer, and it is the deadliest of skin cancers.

There will be many events focused on skin health, sun safety, tanning prevention, and skin cancer screenings and resources.

All are asked to join the American Academy of Dermatology in wearing orange and encouraging others to wear orange for skin cancer awareness.

HOW TO OBSERVE

The 2016 theme is Looking Good in 2016 so use #LookingGoodin2016 or #MelanomaMonday to post on social media.

HISTORY

Founded by the American Academy of Dermatology, National Melanoma Monday has been raising awareness since at least 1984.  For more information on prevention and screening visit www.melanomamonday.org.

Read more at http://www.nationaldaycalendar.com/national-melanoma-monday-first-monday-in-may/

 

World Cancer Day 2016

Other Stuff, Part 2: Kidney Cancer

Until I saw it on Facebook, I didn’t know that today was World Cancer Day.  Over the years, our family has dealt with several types of cancer and I have friends that have had cancers of their own.  I think that most every family has been touched by cancer in some way.

In my family:

Colon cancer

  • My dad had it twice and died after his second surgery
  • My aunt had it twice and died after her second surgery.  She was lucky – she never had any symptoms except looking like she was pregnant.
  • My mom had it twice and she’s still alive at 93.  Hooray!  It can be beat with the right attitude.

Kidney Cancer

According to my “risk factors”, I “should” have had colon cancer because both parents and an aunt had it twice each.  Of course, there’s no guarantee that I won’t get that, too.

And the risk factors for kidney cancer aka renal cell carcinoma?  The majority of kidney cancers are renal cell carcinomas.

Risk factors for renal cell carcinoma include:

  • Age. Your risk of renal cell carcinoma increases as you age. Renal cell carcinoma occurs most commonly in people 60 and older.

I was younger than this.

  • Sex. Men are more likely to develop renal cell carcinoma than women are.

I am female

  • Smoking. Smokers have a greater risk of renal cell carcinoma than nonsmokers do. The risk increases the longer you smoke and decreases after you quit.

Not me!

  • Obesity. People who are obese have a higher risk of renal cell carcinoma than do people who are considered average weight.

A Cushing’s gift

  • High blood pressure (hypertension). High blood pressure increases your risk of renal cell carcinoma, but it isn’t clear why. Some research in animals has linked high blood pressure medications to an increased risk of kidney cancer, but studies in people have had conflicting results.

Never had this until the kidney cancer.  It went away immediately post-op.

  • Chemicals in your workplace. Workers who are exposed to certain chemicals on the job may have a higher risk of renal cell carcinoma. People who work with chemicals such as asbestos, cadmium and trichloroethylene may have an increased risk of kidney cancer.

What?  Me work?.

  • Treatment for kidney failure. People who receive long-term dialysis to treat chronic kidney failure have a greater risk of developing kidney cancer. People who have a kidney transplant and receive immunosuppressant drugs also are more likely to develop kidney cancer.

Nope.  Some sites also list polycystic  kidney disease.  I don’t have that but half my husband’s family does.  Hmmm – wonder if that’s contagious

  • Von Hippel-Lindau disease. People with this inherited disorder are likely to develop several kinds of tumors, including, in some cases, renal cell carcinoma.

I’ve wondered about this but, you know, it’s too “rare”.

  • Hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma. Having this inherited condition makes it more likely you’ll develop one or more renal cell carcinomas.

Not that I know of. 

Pretty close to zero on the risk factors. No signs, no symptoms. I was diagnosed in the ER of my local hospital in 2006.

Skin Cancer

  • My husband has had a variety of melanomas and other skin cancers removed

Breast Cancer

  • Sister-in-Law

Among my friends, there have been many cancers – breast cancers, lung cancers (including people who have never smoked), multiple myelomas,  neuroendocrine cancers (this one is supposed to be really rare.  I have 3 friends with this.), probably some I don’t know about yet – and maybe it is unknown to the person.

Some ideas how to protect yourself and others from cancer.  It could save your life!

Mohs surgery

tom-earMy husband had a Mohs surgery on his ear a couple months ago and it was a really good way to get rid of ALL the cancer.

His surgeon did it in really interesting way. I had thought that they would take the first slice, then wait in the room where he was while they looked at the pathology, then take another, etc until all the cancer was gone.

Instead, they took the first slice, then back to waiting room. Next person, first slice while they were looking at the pathology, then another person, first slice…

Then a round of second slices, then thirds.

It took longer than I’d thought but it was really good talking to other family members and patients during that time.

 

 

From the Mayo Clinic

Mohs surgery is a precise surgical technique used to treat skin cancer. During Mohs surgery, thin layers of cancer-containing skin are progressively removed and examined until only cancer-free tissue remains. Mohs surgery is also known as Mohs micrographic surgery.

The goal of Mohs surgery is to remove as much of the skin cancer as possible, while doing minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissue. Mohs surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis using a local anesthetic.

Mohs surgery is an improvement to standard surgery (local excision), which involves removing the visible cancer and a small margin of surrounding healthy tissue all at once. Mohs surgery allows surgeons to verify that all cancer cells have been removed at the time of surgery. This increases the chance of a cure and reduces the need for additional treatments or additional surgery.

Melanoma skin cancer guidelines for NHS updated – BBC News

New guidelines for diagnosing and treating melanoma skin cancers have been issued to the NHS in England.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) hopes they will end a wide variation in the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

They include advice on diagnosing how far the cancer has progressed, identifying the best treatment, and improvements to follow-up care.

Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that claims more lives than any other.

In 2012, the UK saw more than 2,000 deaths from melanoma and the number of melanoma cases is growing faster than any of the 10 most common cancers.

Experts believe this is largely down to the boom in foreign holidays over the past 40 years and, more recently, a big increase in the use of sunbeds.

Safe sun

Prof Mark Baker, from NICE, said everyone wants to enjoy the sun, but there are safe ways to do so.

“Using a sunscreen with a high SPF, spending time in the shade between 11:00 and 15:00, ensuring you don’t burn, and covering up with a hat, T-shirt and sunglasses.

“But overexposure to ultraviolent light from the sun can have very serious repercussions.

“Melanoma causes more deaths than all other skin cancers combined. Its incidence is rising at a worrying rate, faster than any other cancer.

“This new guideline addresses areas where there is uncertainty or variation in practice, and will help clinicians to provide the very best care for people with suspected or diagnosed melanoma, wherever they live.”

Experts warn that even though more people are now aware of the dangers of too much sun, it will be a generation or so before the number of melanoma deaths starts to fall.

via Melanoma skin cancer guidelines for NHS updated – BBC News.

Skin Cancer

biopsy

 

 

We have a new melanoma in the family, so I’ll be posting a bit about that for a while.

I just had a shave biopsy above my eyebrow last Tuesday and I’ll have 3 punch biopsies on my legs next Tuesday.  Results to follow!

For the non-squeamish: