Young Women With Melanoma: Is Indoor Tanning to Blame?

Skin cancer ‘epidemic’ in under 30 expected to rise unless indoor tanning is restricted

by Charles Bankhead

Women with a melanoma diagnosis before age 30 had almost a 100% positive history for use of indoor suntanning facilities, a large retrospective case-control study showed.

Among the 63 youngest women with melanoma diagnoses, 61 had a history of indoor tanning. Younger women reported earlier and more frequent use of indoor tanning facilities as compared with patients whose melanoma diagnoses occurred later in life. A history of indoor tanning increased the likelihood of a melanoma diagnosis by two to six times among women 30 to 49. Men were about 50% less likely than women to engage indoor tanning, and data on the association with melanoma risk were inconclusive. Here are some hyperpigmentation treatments that can really help your skin.

The findings added to evidence linking indoor tanning to recent increases in melanoma incidence among young women. The study also provided support for legislative and regulatory efforts to restrict access to and use of indoor tanning facilities, wrote DeAnn Lazovich, PhD, of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues in JAMA Dermatology.

“Our results indicate that these efforts need to be accelerated and expanded beyond bans on minor access to indoor tanning to curb the melanoma epidemic, which seems likely to continue unabated, especially among young women, unless exposure to indoor tanning is further restricted and reduced,” the authors stated, alluding to the FDA’s proposed ban on use of indoor tanning equipment by people younger than 18.

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Understanding Melanoma In Situ (Stage 0)

Symptoms, treatment, and prognosis for melanoma in situ, the earliest stage of melanoma.

.By Diana Rodriguez

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With regular and thorough examinations of your skin, you can increase your changes of catching any abnormalities very early — which is good news in terms of treatment and prognosis if that abnormality turns out to be a malignant melanoma. In fact, experts now recommend that men and women of all ages check their skin frequently to increase their odds of spotting potential malignant mole at the earliest possible point: stage 0, or melanoma in situ.

What Is Melanoma In Situ?
Melanoma in situ comes from the Latin phrase “in situ,” which means “in place.” Melanoma in situ is cancer in the very early stages, when it affects only the top layer of the skin. At this point, the cancer has not spread deeper into the body. Cancer diagnosed at this early stage also means that it is less likely to recur or spread to other parts of the body than melanomas that are diagnosed at a later stage.

The very first symptoms of melanoma are any abnormalities in one or more moles on the skin. Abnormalities include moles with anyAsymmetry, uneven Borders, different Colors, large Diameter, orEvolution (any change). That’s why learning the ABCDEs of melanoma and checking yourself regularly are so important. If you see anything different about any of your moles, it could be a sign of melanoma in situ. The best course is to report any changes that you see to your doctor and schedule an exam to rule out melanoma, or to catch and treat it early.

How Is Melanoma In Situ Treated?
The treatment for melanoma in situ is usually fairly simple. In a doctor’s office, an outpatient procedure can be performed in which the melanoma is cut out of the skin, a process that medical personnel call resecting or excising.

“The treatment option for early stage melanoma is a wide excision procedure,” says Bruce A. Brod, MD, a clinical associate professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. “The key prognostic feature in melanoma is the thickness [in millimeters] of the melanoma, which is based on the initial biopsy of the lesion.”

How much skin needs to be cut out depends, then, on the biopsy results. “The consensus for treatment of melanoma in situ is to remove a half-centimeter diameter around the lesion or the initial biopsy site,” Dr. Brod says. “The consensus for treating melanomas less than 2 millimeters in thickness is to remove a 1-centimeter diameter, if possible, around the lesion.”

If the melanoma is larger in size, more skin may need to be removed, and a biopsy performed. “In melanomas greater than 2 millimeters [in thickness], the consensus is to excise a 2-centimeter diameter area around the lesion,” he says. “Since melanoma can spread to the lymph nodes in close proximity to the initial melanoma, a biopsy of lymph nodes is sometimes performed for melanoma close to or greater than 1 millimeter in thickness at the time of the wide excision procedure.”

Following Up on Melanoma in Situ
The good news? People who are diagnosed with melanoma in situ and receive early treatment have a great survival rate — 100 percent at 5 and 10 years. And everyone with melanoma in situ, including those diagnosed at an early stage, should check in with their doctors frequently to be certain that the cancer has not returned. Patients should have a complete physical and skin exam every six months for a year or two after their initial diagnosis, and typically once each year for several years after that.

“When melanoma is found early, it is easily cured with simple outpatient surgery,” says Catherine Poole, president and co-founder of the Melanoma International Foundation. “When found in later stages, it may become life-threatening, and there are few effective therapies to treat metastasized melanoma.”

Some good advice for healthy, cancer-free skin: Protect your skin at all times. “The most effective sun protection is to wear protective clothing, a broad-rimmed hat, seek shade, avoid being in the sun during the prime-time solar hours of 10 to 4, and use sunscreen as an adjunct to these behaviors,” says Poole.

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A couple of weeks ago an ugly mole was removed from my stomach. After the biopsy results came back Doctor Rowe said that it was confirmed to be ‘Melanoma In Situ.’
Got it early enough that it shouldn’t be serious. I Praise God and thank the Veterans Administration!

Going back for one more minor surgery as a precautionary move. — Bob Diamond

Skin Cancer : Epidemic From The Sun

by David B. Schulman M.D., F.A.A.D.

There is a true epidemic of skin cancer in America. One million cases of skin cancer will occur this year in America. Lifelong sun exposure is increasing for Americans as we spend more time outdoors and the sun’s rays are becoming more intense with our loss of ozone. The use of tanning booths is a new way to further damage our skin and raise our risk for skin cancers. There are three common forms of skin cancer and we are seeing dramatic annual increases in the number of these skin cancers. Melanoma, which is the most aggressive form of skin cancer, is now the most common cause of cancer deaths in American women under forty years old.

Basal Cell Carcinoma The most common and least aggressive form of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma. This is the most common cancer in America and happily it causes nearly no fatalities. This cancer is most common on light skinned people and thirty percent of Caucasian people in America are expected to have a basal cell in their lifetime. The great majority of basal cell carcinomas will occur on the head and neck. Though this form of cancer almost never enters the bloodstream or the lymph system, it may be locally invasive. Basal cells do grow by local extension and over time can erode and invade not just skin, but other important areas down to muscle or bone. There are more aggressive forms of basal cell carcinoma that will infiltrate and extend below the surface more than above the surface. These tumors are especially dangerous for the surrounding tissue. Basal cell tumors often appear as pale or translucent patches or raised bumps on the skin with fine blood vessels in them. They may grow for months or years without detection. The often ulcerate and bleed as they grow, but otherwise have no symptoms like itching or pain. The tendency towards growing basal cells is inherited and many patients report at least one family member with a history of basal cell. Patients will often have more than one basal cell in their lifetime and I have seen patients who have had dozens of them. Darker skin tends to get fewer basal cells but one of the first lesions I had in my new practice was an African-American women with a basal cell on the leg. She is fine and nearly everyone who has this is fine. With early detection and removal this should simply be a speed bump on the road of life.