Mayo Clinic Study: Dramatic Skin Cancer Rise 18-39

Health officials are specifically citing tanning salons as a major source of the increase, the April issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings suggests.

Researchers examined records from a decades-long database of all patient care in Olmsted County, Minn., and looked for first-time diagnoses of melanoma in patients ages 18-39 from 1970 to 2009, writes Janice Lloyd for USA Today. Melanoma cases increased eightfold among women in that time and fourfold for men, the authors say.

Report co-author Jerry Brewer, a dermatologist at the Mayo Clinic told Lloyd: “We need to get away from the idea that skin cancer is an older person’s disease.”

Source: redOrbit (http://s.tt/18GtB)

Know What to Look for: the ABCDE’s of Skin Cancer:

A — asymmetry: one side of a mole or dark spot looks different from the other side

B — border: instead of being circular or oval, the mole has a jagged edge

C — color: the mole has more than one color, a dark area, a light area or the colors red, white or blue within it

D — diameter: the mole is larger than 6 mm across, roughly the size of a pencil eraser

E — evolution: any other changes are noted in the mole, even if the change can’t be categorized by A, B, C or D, above. Any itching or bleeding in a mole is also important

Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2012/04/02/study-finds-dramatic-rise-in-skin-cancer-among-young-adults/?xid=rss-topstories#ixzz1quSbONne

                                Suzanne in San Diego Shares Her Story:

This is what skin cancer looks like

 
 
Can you find it? Yeah, thought so. The above circle is a Basal Cell Carcinoma. It is skin cancer. Fortunately, I became sun smart around 5 years ago. I knew well of my fun yet reckless relationship with the sun and what it could possibly bring to me one day.
 
Years of living near the beach as a child with the pre-sun aware generation, sun drenched sunscreen-free days as a teenager swimming at the beach and practicing tennis August, September and October (some of the hottest months in San Diego) without protection came back to kick me in the ass early in life. I can’t even count how many times I was burned.
 
I know I have been sun poisoned on several occasions. Oh and the kicker… I started tanning in what I will refer as the skin cancer chamber, AKA: the tanning bed. Boy did I feel so beautiful with a golden glow! It looked SO healthy! I would parade around in my favorite fashions (and God knows I LOVE to wear clothes) and not feel like Casper.
 
Then I wised up. I grew up. My Husband was freaked out a bit I was starting to turn darker than him. He is part Mexican and naturally tan. I did not want to look like a catcher’s mitt when I grew older.
 
My history made me more aware of my skin. I would stare at any sign of an asymmetrical mole. More stories about being sun smart were found and heard on TV and in magazines other than the Reader Digest crowd. I started to wear sunscreen on my face every day and stayed in the shade while outdoors. I tried, but not hard enough. They say the damage has been done early in life.
 
It started out as a tiny pearly bump on my upper forehead (seen on the above picture while in Hawaii). I could barely point it out to people. It stayed and slowly became a bit bigger, but barely.
 
The skin cancer flags went off in my head when one morning I noticed it was scaling over and bleeding. It was indented in the middle. I soon made an appointment to see my primary care doctor who referred me to see a dermatologist. She thought nothing of it, but I knew better.
 
Several months later I finally came around to seeing the dermatologist. I had to point out the tiny lesion. There guess was it was an Actinic Keratosis (pre-skin cancer). They chose to try and freeze it off (cryosurgery) twice within a year. The lesion stayed. It actually got smaller.
 
I was supposed to go in every 6 months, but several more passed. The “lesion” was barely noticeable. I had microdermabrasion done and I was SO pleased with the results. I had my 3rd dermatology appointment a week later.
 
The dermatologist came in and automatically looked concerned the lesion was still noticeable. They looked again under their special light and ordered a biopsy right away. I was sick. They had said no lesion would be there unless there was cancer brewing under my skin. It could be like the tip of a glacier with all the skin cancer under my forehead. Within the next hour they numbed up my forehead twice and took a tiny cookie cutter of skin off my forehead. I was on my way home until further notice.
 
I did not hear anything for 7 days and was so excited. No news is good news, right? WRONG. I came in to get my forehead stitches out and found my doctor was at a conference. I left excited to have my forehead back and a promise to wear lot’s of sunscreen for the rest of my life along with the senior citizen style hats while in the direct sun.
 
I came home. Eric Skyped me and I received a call at the same time. I answered when I noticed it was from the US Government and when I put two and two together I realized it may be the Naval Hospital. It was my doctor. He mentioned he was sorry he missed me and wanted to tell me in person, but I did in fact have Basal Cell Carcinoma.
 
He wanted to start Aldara immediately. Aldara puts your immune system into hyper drive to try and kill off the cancer cells. It is considered a topical chemo. He told me how it worked and I gasped a bit through nervous laughter. He thought it was the best non-invasive way to try and get rid of the cancer. I was ready to get it over with and start ASAP.
 
I cancelled fun plans and started sun free days right away. I told Eric and cried. One more thing to worry about. I tried to reassure myself what I had was the best type of cancer to have! BCC is rare to metastasize and grows slowly! Yippee!
 
The next five weeks sucked. I threw up out of nowhere the first week on the medication and had muscle and stomach aches. I had hot flashes throughout the day. It scared me that this small amount of cream was so poisonous. I read about the awful side effects online and decided that was a bad idea to research and forced myself to stop googling.
 
The last 3 weeks have been full of spine and lower back pain mixed with a massive amount of fatigue. The lesion grew everyday and got uglier. I had to use ALL of the cream. It scabbed over, would crack, then pus from the middle and drain out to the rest of my forehead.
 
I would put the cream on at night and wash it off in the morning as it ripped off my skin and would slightly bleed. I am nearing the end. My doc gave me the OK to cut my cream application in half and stop this week. I am already feeling better other than the part where I want to SCRATCH MY FOREHEAD OFF!!!!
 
I am not out of the running for Moh’s Surgery that will leave a big scar on my forehead. We will see how the lesion heals and if the cancer is still there with another biopsy. It can come back. It may have never gone away. I have increased my chances for Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Melanoma. My chance of getting more of these on my face is increased greatly.
 
Being tan is NOT worth it. If anything, be vain and think of all the photo aging the sun does.
 
I LOVE the outdoors more than your typical person, but now I choose to do it safely. I have invested in SPF clothing some amazing hats and great sunscreen applied properly on my face and exposed body. I bought a super cute parasol. I have large SPF 50 sun tents now for outdoor activities.
 
I have embraced my HEALTHY skin. Eric loves me pale and I am embracing it and rocking it!
 
Hoping this six weeks will be the last with my battle of the lesion!
 
The first week.
 
My Husband took a few days leave to support me during a crazy schedule! LOVE this man!
 
Week Three…that is ALL cancer being attacked.
 
Week Four…starting to really hurt :-(
 
Thankfully I can rock the you know what out of a hat and have tons of cute ones now! Another reason to shop!
 
At my worst. Week 5
 
Week five and over it! My face was so tender and swollen here.
 
Hoping it does not leave too bad of a scar. Thankful for laser treatment!
 

One thought on “Mayo Clinic Study: Dramatic Skin Cancer Rise 18-39

  1. Hi Maria,

    Great article. I would love to see how things turned out for you?

    You are very brave, I did Aldara a few years ago on my cheek and it was a nightmare, but it left no scar for me, so I guess the torture was worth it.

    Amy

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