InterCommunity Cancer Centers and Institute Offers Tips on Preventing and Treating Skin Cancer
When it comes to melanoma, most people rarely associate this disease with children and teenagers. The reality is that melanoma does not discriminate which is why educating children about the importance of practicing sun protection may significantly decrease their odds of getting melanoma as a teenager or as an adult.
A study published in the April 9th issue of The Journal of Pediatrics provided us some positive news having found that fewer children in the U.S. are getting melanoma. Researchers at Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center in Cleveland studied national cancer registry data from 2000 to 2010. They found that the overall number of new melanoma cases among children fell 12 percent each year from 2004 to 2010. Why? The research team cited effective public outreach about the danger of UV rays from the sun or tanning beds, more kids playing indoors rather than outdoors and a rise in parental awareness of the importance of sunscreen and other sun-protective measures.
While this is great news, the experts at InterCommunity Cancer Centers (ICCC) and Institute (ICCI) of Lady Lake are challenging parents to work even harder to educate children about the importance of applying sunscreen and receiving regular screenings to protect themselves against skin cancer.
According to the ACS, more than two million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancer are found in the U.S. each year. Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, will account for approximately 73,870 cases of skin cancer and nearly 10,000 of the 12,000-plus skin cancer deaths estimated for 2015.
“While this new study is extremely positive to read about, we cannot afford to rest on our laurels when it comes to skin cancer prevention and screenings. Melanoma never takes a day off and neither should we in trying to prevent it. By educating our children and providing them an excellent example for skin cancer prevention, we can further decrease the incidence of melanoma,” says Herman Flink, M.D., radiation oncologist at ICCC/ICCI.
The ACS’ website identifies numerous risk factors, signs and symptoms and important prevention tips regarding skin cancer including the following:
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS FOR
Risk factors for non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancers include:
• Unprotected and/or excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation (sunlight or tanning booths)
• Pale complexion (difficulty tanning, easily sunburned, natural red or blond hair color)
• Occupational exposures to coal tar, pitch, creosote, arsenic compounds, or radium
• You or other members of your family have had skin cancers
• Multiple or unusual moles
• Severe sunburns in the past
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF SKIN CANCER?
Skin cancer can be found early, and both doctors and patients play important roles in finding skin cancer. If you have any of the following symptoms, tell your doctor.
• Any change on your skin, especially in the size or color of a mole, growth, or spot, or a new growth (even if it has no color)
• Scaliness, oozing, bleeding, or change in the appearance of a bump or nodule
• The spread of pigmentation (color) beyond its border, such as dark coloring that spreads past the edge of a mole or mark
• A change in a mole’s sensation, such as itchiness, tenderness, or pain
“Proper protection, self-examination and regular skin cancer screenings can save so many lives, and they require a minimum amount of time and effort,” explains Dr. Flink, radiation oncologist at ICCC/ICCI. “We must remain vigilant about these examinations and contact your physician should you have any questions about skin cancer prevention or if you detect any of the warning signs.”
ICCC is part of Vantage Oncology which includes more than 50 cancer treatment centers in 14 states providing quality, personalized care in a community setting.
For more information, please call InterCommunity Cancer Centers at (352) 674-6300, or visit us at www.icccvantage.com.
THE EXPERIENCE OF INTERCOMMUNITY CANCER CENTERS
ICCC has 25 years of cancer-fighting experience having treated over 10,000 patients. They are dedicated to empowering patients to have the confidence they need to change their lives. Radiation Oncologists Drs. Hal Jacobson, Herman Flink, Maureen Holasek and Jeffrey Kanski bring exceptional expertise in treating breast, lung, prostate, gynecologic, skin and other cancers.
As part of a larger, nation-wide oncology group of physicians and specialists under Vantage Oncology, the oncologists at ICCC have access to aggregated clinical information and best practices from the treatment of more than 1,000 patients per day, enabling them to develop highly-effective and peer-collaborated treatments. This gives many of the centers that work with Vantage, including ICCC, the ability to offer university-quality treatment services in smaller and more rural areas. It gives local communities exceptional services closer to home and in a non-hospital setting. To learn more, please visit www.ICCCVantage.com.
ABOUT VANTAGE ONCOLOGY
Vantage Oncology offers a complete development, implementation and management solution for radiation oncology practices. It provides ownership opportunities that empower physicians to maintain control of their practice while leveraging the strength of the company’s network and clinical resources. A multi-disciplinary team is committed to continuously raising the standards of cancer care. Vantage provides patients and their families with ultimate peace of mind through its commitment to clinical excellence and superior outcomes. For more information, please visit www.VantageOncology.com.
CAN SKIN CANCER BE PREVENTED?
The best ways to lower the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer are to avoid long exposure to intense sunlight and practice sun safety. You can still exercise and enjoy the outdoors while using sun safety at the same time. Here are some ways to be sun safe:
• Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
• Seek shade: Look for shade, especially in the middle of the day when the sun’s rays are strongest. Practice the shadow rule and teach it to children. If your shadow is shorter than you, the sun’s rays are at their strongest.
• Slip on a shirt: Cover up with protective clothing to guard as much skin as possible when you are out in the sun. Choose comfortable clothes made of tightly woven fabrics that you cannot see through when held up to a light.
• Slop on sunscreen: Use sunscreen and lip balm with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Apply a generous amount of sunscreen (about a palmful) and reapply every 2 hours and after swimming, toweling dry, or sweating. Use sunscreen even on hazy or overcast days.
• Slap on a hat: Cover your head with a wide-brimmed hat, shading your face, ears, and neck. If you choose a baseball cap, remember to protect your ears and neck with sunscreen.
• Wrap on sunglasses: Wear sunglasses with 99% to 100% UV absorption to provide optimal protection for the eyes and the surrounding skin.
• Follow these practices to protect your skin even on cloudy or overcast days. UV rays travel through clouds.
• Avoid other sources of UV light. Tanning beds and sun lamps are dangerous. They also damage your skin in other ways.