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Posts Tagged ‘Ultraviolet’

MedicineNet.com – Skin Changes, How to Spot Skin Cancer

Posted by 4love2love on June 26, 2011

It wasn’t too long ago that my grandmother had to have a mole removed because it had become malignant. We had a relative die years ago from skin cancer, and recently, my mother had to have a melanoma removed from her arm. I am now facing my own fear of skin cancer related to multiple small growths that have started to increase in appearance on my face. So, I thought to help other people to be aware of skin cancer and how to spot it. Remember that if you notice any signifigant skin chances, please see your doctor right away!

 

Medical Author: Melissa Stoppler, M.D.
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel, Jr, MD, FACP, FACR

Picture of skin cancerAccording to the American Academy of Dermatology, one in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer in their lifetime. Sun exposure is the leading cause of skin cancer, and people with fair skin and light eyes whose skin has a tendency to burn easily in the sun are most susceptible to the damaging effects of the sun’s UV rays. Fortunately, most skin cancers can be detected in their early stages since skin tumors are more visible than tumors of the internal organs.

Three types of cancers account for virtually 100% of skin cancers. The nonmelanomatous skin cancers include basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Malignant melanoma is the third, and most deadly, type of skin cancer.

Basal cell carcinoma is by far the most common type of skin cancer, accounting for 80% of cases. These slow-growing tumors occur most commonly on areas of the body that are exposed to sun and may take several forms. A raised, reddish, pearly nodule is the most common appearance of basal cell carcinoma, but it may also appear as a pink or red scar or area of irritated skin. Basal cell carcinomas metastasize (spread via the bloodstream or lymphatic channels) very rarely; instead, they grow invasively into surrounding tissues and can cause localized tissue destruction when not completely removed.

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer, representing about 16% of all skin cancers. As with basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma occurs most often in sun-exposed areas and in elderly people. Its appearance is similar to a chronic ulcerated area of the skin or a crusty or scaly skin lesion. Unlike basal cell carcinomas, squamous cell cancers metastasize to other parts of the body when they are not detected and removed at an early stage.

The deadliest skin cancer, melanoma, accounts for only 4% of skin cancers. This type of cancer often spreads to the lymph nodes and internal organs. While melanomas have a variety of physical appearances, they are most often pigmented lesions greater than 0.6 mm (about the size of a pencil eraser) in diameter. They may show a range of colors and generally have an irregularly-shaped, asymmetrical border. Melanoma can be cured by surgical removal if detected before spread to other organs has occurred. About 95% of melanomas can be cured when the cancer is limited to the outermost layer of the skin, but the prognosis is poor when melanoma has spread to other parts of the body.

Other, rare types of skin cancer make up less that 1% of all skin malignancies. Examples of these rare tumors include Paget’s disease of the skin, Merkel cell carcinoma, and cutaneous lymphoma.

Early detection is essential for successful treatment of skin cancers. You should consult your doctor if you have any suspicious skin changes or lesions including:

  • moles that have changed in appearance, bleed, or become itchy
  • new moles or sores
  • ulcers that do not heal
  • moles that have grown or exhibit unusual changes

Avoidance of sun exposure and use of appropriate sunscreen products are the best ways to prevent all skin cancers.
Last Editorial Review: 12/26/2006

 

©1996-2011 MedicineNet, Inc.

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WebMD – Sunscreen: Are You Really Covered?

Posted by 4love2love on June 25, 2011

Our experts debunk sunscreen myths — plus a top dermatologist reveals her favorite sunscreens.
By Ayren Jackson-Cannady
WebMD the Magazine – Feature
Reviewed by Karyn Grossman, MD

Now that summer’s in full swing, it’s time to make sure you’re fully protected from sun. But what kind of sunscreen should you buy? How long should you keep it? And just what are the factors for skin cancer anyway? In this special feature, we answer the top myths about sunscreen, bring you a top dermatologist’s sunscreen recommendations, and offer a quick way for you to assess your own chances of getting skin cancer.

Top Sunscreen Myths

1. The higher the SPF, the better the protection.

FALSE. It sounds right — a sun protection factor of 100 should be twice as protective as SPF 50. But it’s only a few percentage points more effective. An SPF of 15 screens 93% of the sun’s rays and an SPF of 30 screens 97%. “But the number becomes irrelevant if you aren’t applying enough in the first place,” says Mona Gohara, MD, a dermatologist in Danbury, Conn., and an assistant clinical professor at Yale University Department of Dermatology. Studies show the average person slaps on one-seventh to one-tenth of the amount of SPF needed to reach the number that’s on the bottle.

“For better protection apply 1 to 2 ounces (the size of a Ping-Pong ball) of sunscreen on your body 30 minutes before going outdoors [so your skin can absorb it completely], and every two hours to any exposed skin after that,” Gohara says. For your face, apply a dollop the size of a silver dollar every day, no matter what the weather. Note, too, that SPF refers to protection from UVB (the burning rays) only, not UVA (the aging rays). You need to guard against both, since both can lead to skin cancer.

2. It’s OK to use last year’s bottle of SPF.

TRUE. Most sunscreens have a shelf life of about two years, says Jordana Gilman, MD, a New York City dermatologist. If you are using sunscreen properly, however, you shouldn’t have any left, since it takes about 1 to 2 ounces of sunscreen to cover the entire body, so a 4-ounce bottle should last for only four applications.

3. Sunscreen only needs to be applied to exposed skin.

FALSE. The average T-shirt offers an SPF of about 7, notes Gilman. Darker fabrics and tighter weaves provide more protection, but it is much safer to apply sunscreen to your entire body before you get dressed. Or better yet, wear clothing made of UV protective fabrics. These have been specially treated with colorless UV-absorbing dyes, and most offer an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 50, which blocks both UVA and UVB.

Don’t want to invest in a whole new summer wardrobe? Spike your detergent with a wash-in SPF product you can toss in with your laundry.

4. Using makeup with SPF is just like wearing regular facial sunscreen.

FALSE. Certainly, applying makeup that contains SPF is better than skipping it altogether, but it’s not as effective as wearing a facial lotion with sunscreen underneath. Generally, most makeup cracks on skin, allowing UV rays through. “For makeup to provide adequate ultraviolet protection, it would need to be applied in a really thick layer, which most women do not do,” Gilman says. So unless you plan to spackle on your foundation, smooth on a layer of lotion with sunscreen first, and then apply your makeup.

5. Sunscreen can cause cancer.

FALSE. The only way sunscreen could be hazardous to your health is if it is absorbed into the body, which does not happen, says Amy Wechsler, MD, dermatologist and author of The Mind-Beauty Connection: 9 Days to Reverse Stress Aging and Reveal More Youthful, Beautiful Skin. “UV rays break down the chemical molecules in some sunscreens relatively quickly, long before they can seep into skin.”

Still concerned? Use a sunscreen containing physical blocking ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium oxide, which stay on the surface of the skin as a protective barrier. Don’t be tempted to use babies’ or children’s sunscreens, which don’t necessarily contain physical blocks. And make sure to check the “active ingredients” section on the label to see what the bottle contains. Even the same product can vary from year to year. Some dermatologists believe people should wear physical blocks only. They might be safer than a mix but are harder to find and not as easy to wear since they tend to be thicker and goopier products. Try a few to find one you like.

6. “Waterproof” sunscreen doesn’t need to be reapplied after swimming.

FALSE. It’s no surprise researchers at the Colorado School of Public Health recently found that vacations near the water were associated with a 5% increase in small skin moles, which in turn boosts a person’s risk of melanoma. While the FDA recognizes the term “water resistant” (which means a sunscreen offers SPF protection after 40 minutes of exposure to water), it does not acknowledge the term “waterproof.” “No sunscreen is truly waterproof,” Wechsler confirms. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two to three hours — and every time you get out of the water if you’re doing laps in the pool or splashing around in the ocean.

7. Wearing sunscreen can lead to vitamin D deficiency.

FALSE. There’s no denying that our bodies need vitamin D (which can be obtained though sun exposure) to function — without it, the body can’t use calcium or phosphorus (minerals necessary for healthy bones). And according to a study published in Archives of Internal Medicine, three-quarters of Americans are deficient in the crucial vitamin. But that doesn’t give you a no-SPF pass. “You still get enough sun to make plenty of vitamin D through the sunscreen,” says Brett Coldiron, MD, a dermatologist at the University of Cincinnati. If you’re worried about vitamin D deficiency leading to brittle bones, Wechsler says, ask your doctor about taking a supplement. The Institute of Medicine’s recently revised guidelines recommend most adults get 600 international units of vitamin D a day; some people may need more.

8. Sunscreen with antioxidants provides better UVA/UVB protection.

TRUE. While they aren’t necessarily active sunscreen ingredients, antioxidants are great SPF supplements. Sunscreen alone does not block all of the damaging rays from the sun — even an SPF of 50 blocks out only 98% of UV rays. “Antioxidants are a good way to catch the UV radiation that ‘sneaks’ past the sunscreen,” Gohara says. Sunscreens infused with antioxidants such as skin-loving green tea extract or polyphenols from tomatoes and berries are proven to reduce the formation of free radicals (small chemical particles that wreak havoc on skin and can cause skin cancer) in the presence of UV light.

To read entire post, please go to Sunscreen : Are you really covered?

© 2011 WebMD, LLC.

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ABC News – Casey Anthony CSI: Outline of Heart Decal On Duct Tape

Posted by 4love2love on June 13, 2011

If you would like to view this article and the related videos and other articles, please go to ABC News

By BRYAN LAVIETES and JANICE McDONALD

ORLANDO, Fla. June 13, 2011

An FBI forensics expert testified today in the Casey Anthony murder trial that she found the outline of a heart-shaped sticker on a piece of duct tape that was on the decomposed skull of 2-year-old Caylee Anthony.

The heart shaped outline, likened to the outline of debris that gathers around the edges of a used band-aid, was similar to a heart-shaped sticker that was found at the scene where Caylee’s body was discovered. It was also similar to a roll of heart-shaped stickers that police found in Casey Anthony’s bedroom.

The testimony by FBI latent print analyst Elizabeth Fontaine was like an episode of the popular television series “CSI,” as she presented a tutorial on how to search for fingerprints.

Fontaine told the court that she didn’t expect to find latent prints on the three pieces of duct tape that had been found on Caylee’s skull, and had been left out in the elements for many weeks. Three times Fontaine was asked if she was able to recover fingerprints on each piece of tape, and three times she answered: “No, I was not.”

Prosecutors contend that Casey Anthony killed her daughter in June 2008 by placing duct tape over her nose and mouth, smothering her.

Casey Anthony’s lawyer argues that Caylee drowned and her mother never told anyone. The medical examiner has determined that Caylee’s death was a homicide, but the body was too decomposed to zero in on a cause of death.

Casey Anthony could be sentenced to death if found guilty.

Defense attorney José Baez walked Fontaine through her 11-step process for retrieving fingerprints. Jurors were treated to a thorough overview of Fontaine’s examination from a quick visual inspection to the use of lasers, UV lights, super glue, and dyes to enhance images on the evidence.

Casey Anthony CSI

Fontaine said her examinations began with a visual examination looking for possible prints. She said she next used a laser, like a laser pointer, because its frequencies can help show the outlines of prints not visible to the naked eye.

Still not finding prints, Fontaine said she used an ultraviolet light. It has a different frequency than the laser and could pick up any prints that may have fluorescent qualities.

Normal super glue was her next step. It was applied in a humidity chamber. Any latent prints would attract the moisture and the moisture would attract the glue, which would then form a “coating or shell” over the print, she said.

A UV light was then shown down on the tape through a camera with a filter and the image was shown on a screen to eliminate any reflective properties that might obscure a print and take away what she called the “3D effect” caused by dirt or crinkly of the tape.

A dye stain was then applied because the superglue will dry white or clear, which can be hard to see. With the stain, the glue would glow orange under a fluorescent light, making any print stand out. No print emerged on the duct tape.

Alternate black powder was then applied. Mixed with a solution and painted on to the object, it would adhere to where ever the superglue was, but it still failed to bring up a print.

Regular black powder was also used to search for a print. The powder would adhere to any moisture or oil left by a hand print, Fontaine said.

Judge Belvin Perry excused the jurors until 1 p.m. Tuesday. Perry announced to the court that the proceedings were “running ahead of schedule” and said the state could finish its case on Tuesday. The defense could begin its case as early as Wednesday. Perry estimated that the jury could begin deliberating the fate of Casey Anthony by June 25.

Copyright © 2011 ABC News

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