Posts tagged ‘skin cancer’

Observe World Cancer Day by reducing your cancer risk. Here’s how:

February 2, 2015 | by

With this week’s World Cancer Day challenging us to think about cancer on a global scale, we should also keep in mind that daily choices affect cancer risk on an individual scale. Simply put, lifestyle changes and everyday actions can reduce your cancer risk and perhaps prevent some cancers.

cancer risk reduction

Choosing healthy foods, exercise and other healthy habits are essential to cancer risk reduction.

According to the World Cancer Research Fund, about a third of the most common cancers could be prevented through reduced alcohol consumption, healthier diets and improved physical activity levels. If smoking were also eliminated, that number could jump to as many as half of all common cancers.

Here are a few suggestions. Truly, they’re not that difficult. Give them a try this week to mark World Cancer Day, Feb. 4, Try them the next week too. And the week after that …

In a word, exercise. Simple exercise benefits everyone, and even a little helps. Leslie Bernstein, Ph.D., professor and director of the Division of Cancer Etiology at City of Hope, recommends a 45-minute walk five days a week. While that is ideal, her research has found that, for some people, even 30 minutes per week can make a difference. The benefit of exercise applies for people of all weights and fitness levels.

The American Cancer Society recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of high intensity exercise each week, preferably spread throughout the week. Don’t deny yourself the benefits just because you don’t have a large block of time or can’t get into the gym for a more formal workout. » Continue Reading

Meet our doctors: Dermatologist Jae Jung on preventing melanoma

August 23, 2014 | by

With Labor Day just around the corner, summer is on its way out. But just because summertime is ending doesn’t mean we can skip sunscreen. Protection from ultraviolet (UV) radiation is needed all year round. Exposure to UV radiation — whether from the sun or from artificial sources such as sunlamps used in tanning beds — increases the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.


Jae Jung says melanoma is easily treated when caught at the earliest stages.

Here, Jae Jung, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in dermatology at City of Hope, shares simple prevention tips to lower the risk of melanoma. She also explains that the disease is almost always curable if detected and treated in its earliest stages.

What is melanoma and what causes it?

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer. It arises from melanocytes, the cells that produce pigment in our skin. They are most common in sun-exposed areas of the skin, but can arise anywhere including under the fingernails, oral or genital mucosa, and eyes.

Melanoma is usually caused by too much UV exposure, either from natural sun or in tanning booths. Use of tanning beds can increase your risk of melanoma by 75 percent. Patients with fair skin, light hair and eyes, have a propensity to sunburn and are at higher risk of developing melanoma. Patients with many moles (greater than 50), atypical moles, and a family history of melanoma are also at increased risk. » Continue Reading

Surgeon general makes skin cancer a national priority

July 30, 2014 | by

Skin cancer rates have been on the rise for years. On Tuesday, the U.S. surgeon general said: Enough.

Indoor tanning bed

The U.S. surgeon general has issued the first-ever Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer. Indoor tanning is especially under fire, in the report and from a City of Hope skin cancer expert.

In issuing the first-ever Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer, acting Surgeon General Boris Lushniak described skin cancer as a “major public health problem” that requires action by all segments of society.

Nearly 5 million people in the United States are treated for skin cancer each year, the report said, making it the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States, with annual treatment costs reaching an estimated $8.1 billion. It’s also one of the most preventable cancers.

Everyone has a role to play in the skin cancer prevention effort, Lushniak stressed, saying that governments across the board (not just federal and state, but also tribal, local and territorial) need to be partners with business, health care and education leaders; community, nonprofit and faith-based organizations; and of course individuals and families.

He’ll find little argument from skin cancer experts, including City of Hope dermatologist Jae Jung, M.D., Ph.D. She’s seen the profound impact of skin cancer on society and the alarming rise in skin cancer rates among young people. » Continue Reading

Sunscreen 411: Tips on protecting your skin from the sun

June 16, 2014 | by

sun safetysun safetysun safetysun safetySunscreen – we know it’s essential in reducing the risk of skin cancer, but we skimp on it, forget to reapply it or forgo it altogether before hitting the outdoors. That helps explains our skin cancer numbers.

sunscreen and skin cancer risk

Read those sunscreen labels closely. A City of Hope expert explains how to maximize your protection.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, with more than 3.5 million people diagnosed with basal and squamous cell skin cancer each year. Melanoma, the most deadly type of skin cancer, accounts for more than 76,000 cases of skin cancer.

With summer just around the corner – and an increased likelihood of excessive sun exposure – now’s the perfect time to brush up on sun safety.

City of Hope surgical oncologist Vijay Trisal, M.D., who helps formulate melanoma treatment guidelines both nationally and internationally, shares some sunscreen tips to help you get the best protection against the sun. » Continue Reading

Summer tip: Choose sunscreen wisely; many don’t live up to SPF claims

May 20, 2014 | by

Those shorts with that shirt? Which skirt with that blouse? Which sandals? These are standard summer-season questions many people ask themselves before leaving the house on a sunny day. A better question might be: Which sunscreen? Consumer Reports has found that labels might not be the best guide, with only two – repeat, two – of 20 products actually living up to their SPF, or sun protection factor, claims after a good dunking. Most of the rest were 4 to 40 percent below the touted number on the labels.

sun safety

Choose wisely when selecting a sunscreen; not all live up to their SPF claims, Consumer Reports has found.

In fact, the July issue of the magazine recommended only seven of the products they tested, with both high-end and bargain price tags. WebMD provides a full list of the ratings.

Consumer Reports points out that no sunscreen blocks all rays, and that SPF refers only to UVB rays, not UVA rays. It even offers up a nifty graphic on the ratio between SPF and UVB protection.

As Vijay Trisal, medical director of community practices at City of Hope, has said: “People need to look for a sunscreen that contains at least one of the following: ecamsule, avobenzone, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, sulisobenzone or zinc oxide.” These ingredients provide broad-spectrum protection, reducing damage from both UVA and UVB rays. » Continue Reading

Cancer risk posed by nail salons’ UV lights: Putting it in perspective

May 1, 2014 | by

An increased risk of skin cancer seems a high price to pay for quickly dried fingernails – and yet a recent study suggests that’s what you get with repeated use of ultraviolet, or UV, lamps used at nail salons.

UV risk and nail salons

The UV lights used at nail salons may pose a slightly increased risk of cancer, but the operative word is “slightly.”

The lamps-and-fingernails study, published April 30 in JAMA Dermatology, was a natural headline-grabber:

24 Visits to the Nail Salon Could Trigger Skin CancerTime

Could drying your nails at the salon give you cancer?Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Nail salon UV lamps: Are they safe? – CBS News

But the study – and the reaction to it – may shed as much light on the perception of risk as it does on the risk of skin cancer.

City of Hope experts discussed both at our recent “Cancer Urban Legends: Fact or Fiction?” Ask the Experts presentation. The topics reflected the cancer myths, rumors and worries experienced by the average consumer and, perhaps unsurprisingly here in well-manicured Southern California, the risk posed by nail salon lights was one of those concerns. » Continue Reading

Meet our doctors: Julie Wolfson on cancer in teens, young adults

November 16, 2013 | by

Adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer have different needs and treatment challenges than children or older adults. They’re a unique population because they don’t fit into a distinct group, often falling into a gap between cancer treatment programs designed for children and those designed for adults.

City of Hope pediatric oncologist Julie Wolfson, M.D., M.S.H.S.

City of Hope pediatric oncologist Julie Wolfson

Here, pediatric oncologist Julie Wolfson, M.D., M.S.H.S., discusses how the cancer experience differs for AYAs and how City of Hope’s multidisciplinary AYA team offers assistance and a network of professionals to support teens and young adults from the beginning of treatment through survivorship.

Who are AYAs and what are some of the cancers most often seen in this group?

The National Cancer Institute considers an AYA to be any patient who has been newly diagnosed with a malignancy between the ages of 15 and 39. Some of the more common cancers in AYAs are lymphomas, thyroid cancer, melanoma, testicular cancer, leukemia, brain and spinal cord tumors, cervical cancer and breast cancer. These patients have diagnoses similar to both young children and older adults, depending on what age group they fall into. For example, acute lymphoblastic leukemia is more common with younger AYAs, while older AYAs may see thyroid, breast and skin cancer more often.

What are some of the unique short-term and long-term health and psychosocial issues facing AYAs during and after cancer treatment?

Beyond feeling they’re invincible, AYAs are clearly at a unique developmental time in their life to be diagnosed with a devastating illness. Staying on schedule with their peers in school, work and keeping up with their family life are so important, and losing a (sometimes newfound) control over their lives while instead gaining a sense of social isolation can feel overwhelming. Issues such as sexuality and body image are important in a unique way in AYAs, as is fertility. Many cancer treatments can alter the ability to conceive a child – whether you’re a young man or woman. Communicating with your health-care team about whether or not there is a way to preserve fertility is a very important conversation for an AYA. » Continue Reading

Melanoma: Some sun lovers increase UV exposure after diagnosis

October 10, 2013 | by

Once burned, twice shy? It would seem that anyone who has been diagnosed with melanoma – the most deadly type of skin cancer – would be doubly cautious about their future exposures to the sun.

skin cancer

A melanoma diagnosis is not a deterrent for some sun lovers, research has found.

Not so, according to a new study in JAMA Dermatology, published online Oct. 2.

Because ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is the primary risk factor for developing cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM), and CMM patients are at heightened risk of developing a second primary melanoma, researchers sought to shed light on the behavior of patients over a three-year period following diagnosis.

First author Luise Winkel Idorn, M.D., Ph.D., of Bispebjerg Hospital and the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and her colleagues analyzed data from 40 participants, including 20 patients with CMM and 20 control subjects who did not have the disease but who were matched to patients by sex, age, occupation and skin type. » Continue Reading

Cancer survival: ‘Progress is astonishing,’ expert says

September 19, 2013 | by

Science is paying off. Thanks to the significant progress in cancer research and scientific discoveries, more people are surviving cancer.

A million lives have been saved due to cancer advances, a new report says. More work remains.

More than a million lives have been saved due to advances against cancer, a new report says. More work remains.

The third annual cancer progress report from the American Association for Cancer Research found that there have been more than 1 million fewer cancer deaths since 1990. Further, the number of cancer survivors in the U.S. continues to increase, with more than 13.7 million current survivors.

“The progress is astonishing,” said Cy Stein, M.D., Ph.D., Arthur & Rosalie Kaplan Chair in Medical Oncology at City of Hope in an interview with HealthDay. “Things have been getting better. That is the truth of this report.”

Part of the improvement can be traced to new drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These drugs, the result of decades of research, target specific defects in cancer. Known as targeted therapies, the medications are designed to attack genetic mutations in tumor cells and block their ability to grow.

“There are so many interventions now, because there are so many different forms of cancer,” said Stein in an interview with Time. “That’s why this is an exciting time to be a medical oncologist.”

However, even with the major developments and advancements, cancer still remains a worldwide problem.

» Continue Reading

Indoor tanning: For some women, it may be addictive

August 24, 2013 | by

Some women never learn. Despite the overwhelming risks of developing skin cancer through indoor tanning beds, young white women continue to do it at an alarming rate, a new study shows. A City of Hope expert suggests that a form of addiction may be to blame.

A new study found that found that about 29 percent of white high school girls use tanning beds at least once a year, despite health risks.

A new study found that found that about 29 percent of white high school girls use tanning beds at least once a year, despite health risks.

A review of earlier studies, published in the journal BMJ, found that using indoor tanning beds before the age of 35 increases melanoma risk — the most serious type of skin cancer — by up to 75 percent. Using one before the age of 25 increases the risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer by up to 102 percent.

The risks, if not the precise numbers, are widely known. And yet, researchers found that about 29 percent of white high school girls use tanning beds at least once a year and about 17 percent undergo indoor tanning frequently. Frequently was defined as at least 10 times a year.

The new study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, used data extracted from the CDC’s 2011 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which included responses from more than 15,000 high school students.

Even though Caucasians have the highest rates of melanoma among all ethnic groups and people with fair skin are more likely to develop skin cancer, 44 percent of teenagers admitted to have used a tanning bed by the time they were 18. By that age, 30 percent of the girls were indoor tanning frequently.

Jae Jung, M.D., Ph.D, dermatologist and assistant professor in the Division of Plastic Surgery at City of Hope, has seen melanoma patients as young as 14. She believes that some patients rely on tanning to make them feel better about themselves and, in fact, become addicted to indoor tanning.

» Continue Reading