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Debunking 5 Myths About the Sun and Tanning

debunking tanning mythsThere are dangerous misconceptions surrounding the safety of tanning. For this reason, we set out to uncover the science behind tanning and understand the truth behind 5 common tanning myths.

MYTH #1: Tanning Beds Are Safer Than the Sun

The best way to understand why tanning beds are more harmful than regular sun exposure is to break down the tanning process. First, when individuals spend time outdoors the sun’s UV rays dig into their skin and break through the skin’s protective layers. In response to this, the skin fights back with specialized skin cells known as melanocytes. The melanocytes release the pigment melanin which causes the tanned appearance. Unfortunately, sometimes the impact of UV rays can become too much for the skin cells to handle and sunburns form as a result. This impact by the UV rays damages the DNA in skin cells and overtime this can also lead to cases of skin cancer and a vulnerable immune system.[efn_note]For more information on the science behind tanning see “Tanning (for Teens)” by Nemours KidsHealth, https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/tanning.html[/efn_note]  With this in mind, if individuals use tanning beds they are subjecting their skin to this damage at a greater frequency than if they were to spend time in the direct sunlight. To solidify this, the World Health Organization has placed tanning beds in the highest cancer risk category. 

MYTH #2: A Base Tan Provides Adequate Sun Protection 

For many years, the theory that a base tan will provide sun protection has tempted individuals to hit the tanning beds before summer vacation. The idea behind this is that the base tan will reduce the chance of sunburning by preparing the skin for a battle in the sun.[efn_note]For more information on base tans see “10 Surprising Facts About Indoor Tanning” by the American Academy of Dermatology Association, https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/skin-cancer/surprising-facts-about-indoor-tanning[/efn_note] However, it has been discovered that if a base tan were measured on the SPF scale it would be equivalent to a sun protection factor of between two and four.[efn_note]For more information on tanning safety see “Indoor Tanning Is Out” by the Canadian Dermatology Association, https://dermatology.ca/public-patients/sun-protection/indoor-tanning-is-out/[/efn_note] It has been recommended that individuals wear sunscreen with an SPF of thirty so just by merely examining these numbers it is clear a base tan is not nearly enough protection. In addition to this, the base tan would be exposing the skin to the known damage of tanning beds which is more dangerous than protective. The lack of evidence to support the base tan theory confirms it is not the best route and the best sun protection is still sunscreen, sunglasses and sun safety apparel.[efn_note]For further information on base tans see “A Healthy Base Tan?” by Forefront Dermatology, https://forefrontdermatology.com/heathy-base-tan/[/efn_note]

MYTH #3: Extra Sun Exposure Is Necessary for Vitamin D Levels

It is a common fact  that Vitamin D is associated with healthy bones, but Vitamin D can be obtained more easily than most people think. There is no need to spend a prolonged amount of time in the sun to soak up the sought after vitamin. It can be acquired through eating foods abundant in Vitamin D like salmon, tuna and egg yolks. Milk sold at grocery stores is also enriched with Vitamin D to reduce the chance of bone health concerns. In addition to this, after consulting a doctor, and if deemed appropriate, there are Vitamin D supplement options. This being said, the amount of time individuals spend outside naturally is sufficient in increasing Vitamin D levels, making a lengthy time outdoors for that specific purpose unnecessary.[efn_note] For more information on Vitamin D see “Vitamin D Myths ‘D’-bunked” by Yale Medicine, https://www.yalemedicine.org/stories/vitamin-d-myths-debunked/[/efn_note]

tanning isn't worth the risk

MYTH #4: Sunscreen Is Unnecessary While Under Cover 

There exists a common misconception that being under shade protects the skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. The issue with this is that although individuals may not be in the direct line of the UV rays they can still be indirectly affected when the sun’s rays reflect off of other surfaces. For example, it is common to sit under an umbrella for shade during a day at the beach but the sun can still reflect off of the water and sand. On top of this, it can be difficult to always remain completely covered under an umbrella or shaded area because the sun moves quickly. For these reasons it is safest to still apply sunscreen for full coverage.[efn_note]For more information on the use of sunscreen see “Healthy Skin: Made in the Shade?” by the Skin Cancer Foundation, https://www.skincancer.org/blog/healthy-skin-made-in-the-shade/[/efn_note]

MYTH #5: Tanning Achieves Perfect Skin

The results of a tan can appear to cause skin to look radiant and remove the sign of blemishes. In fact, tanning the skin only temporarily creates this effect and it is well known that every tan creates varying levels of skin damage. Sun exposure is the most common cause of skin damage and wrinkling. Exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight causes changes to the skin. In addition to fine lines and wrinkles, UV damage causes brown spots and pigment irregularity, as well as broken capillaries and red blotches.[efn_note]For more information on skin damage by sun esposure see “Wrinkles” by the Better Health Channel, Victoria State Government, https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/wrinkles[/efn_note] In light of this, as tempting as it may be, a tan is not needed to achieve perfect skin. Skin care is about keeping skin healthy and not trying to make it look flawless. The skin functions and protects the human body in so many ways which is why it is important to take care of it. The best way to do this is to practice sun safety while outdoors and steer clear of tanning beds. 

For more information on sun safety, and to access resources to help you protect yourself, check out our Prevention page and our Sun Safety Resources poster.

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Post-ESMO Webinar with Dr. Dummer: Skin Cancer News 2020

Webinar Recording Available! Click HERE

Presented by Professor Reinhard Dummer, Professor of the University of Zurich and Vice-Chairman of the Department of Dermatology in the University Hospital of Zürich, Switzerland, this webinar reviews late breaking news, key takeaways, clinical data and other updates presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Virtual Congress Annual Meeting September-October 2020.  Dr. Dummer shares his key insights into what the landscape of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer treatment looks like for the near future.  Watch until the end to see Dr. Dummer and Kathy Barnard discuss hope and survivorship in melanoma skin cancer.

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Prof. Reinhard Dummer, MD
Vice-Chairman, Department of Dermatology
University Hospital of Zürich, Switzerland

Professor Reinhard Dummer is Professor of the University of Zurich and Vice-Chairman of the Department of Dermatology in the University Hospital of Zürich, Switzerland and is a key thought leader in worldwide cutaneous oncology. Currently he is heading of the Skin Cancer Unit and the Clinical Trial Unit of the Department of Dermatology. Professor Dummer began his medical education in haematology and oncology before successfully completing his dermatology residency in Würzburg, Germany, and Zürich in 1992.

He is Board Certified in allergology, clinical immunology, dermatology and dermatopathology.

Professor Dummer’s principal research interests are molecular biology, immunology and immunotherapy of cutaneous malignancies, including cutaneous lymphomas and melanomas. He has published more than 741 papers with a cumulative impact factor of more than 6372. He w as past-president of the Melanoma Project Group of the Swiss Institute for Applied Cancer Research since 1999 -2016, is a member of German National Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina) and is past board member of the Society for Melanoma Research and past President of the International Society for Cutaneous Lymphomas.

He is a founding and board member of the European Association of Dermato-Oncology (EADO), ESMO, URPP and past President of the European Society for Dermatological Research (ESDR).

In the last 20 years, he has developed a leading skin cancer center. This center offers best medical care, a network of clinical trials reaching from phase I to phase III. His contributions are acknowledge in many publications in outstanding journals such as New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, Lancet Oncology, Press etc. Locally he is intensify cooperation with basic research group at the University and the federal University (ETH). This has resulted in translation work improving our understanding of cutaneous malignancies.

To view the webinar recording please CLICK HERE

 

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Move for Melanoma 2020 – It’s a Wrap!

 

To everyone who participated in Move for Melanoma 2020 by raising awareness and funds in their communities, a huge thank you! We couldn’t have done it without you!


Over 100 participants
and 24 teams across Canada took part in Move for Melanoma this year! We have been so moved and inspired by this incredible community of patients, families, and friends.

We’d like to thank all those who supported Move for Melanoma by making a donation, sponsoring an event or spreading the word. Thanks to you, the event was a monumental success!
We reached 120% of our (doubled) fundraising goal! You can read our full post-event press release HERE.

To all participants and donors, your dedication to the fight against skin cancer will help Save Your Skin Foundation continue to support Canadians living with non-melanoma skin cancer, melanoma and ocular melanoma when they need it most. Every single dollar raised through your donations will go directly to patients in the form of cab fares, treatment costs, flights, accommodation and other necessary but costly expenses incurred while receiving treatment.

Thanks to all our participants who sent us pictures of themselves and their teammates taking part in Move for Melanoma, we were able to create a beautiful Wrap video of the event. We encourage you to take 2 minutes to complete our post-event PARTICIPANT SURVEY to help us improve for next year!

 

Watch our 2020 Wrap video!

 

 

Thank you to our Sponsors:

 

We’d like to acknowledge the many businesses that have stepped up to support our event this year. They have generously donated prizes for our top fundraisers and made monetary contributions to the event.
Please show them your support!

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Move for Melanoma 2020

TO EVERYONE WHO PARTICIPATED IN MOVE FOR MELANOMA 2020 BY RAISING AWARENESS AND FUNDS IN THEIR COMMUNITIES, A HUGE THANK YOU! WE COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT YOU!

September 26-27 ,   2020

Over 100 participants and 24 teams across Canada took part in Move for Melanoma this year! We have been so moved and inspired by this incredible community of patients, families, and friends.

We’d like to thank all those who supported Move for Melanoma by making a donation, sponsoring an event or spreading the word. Thanks to you, the event was a monumental success!
We reached 120% of our (doubled) fundraising goal! You can read our full post-event press release HERE.

To all participants and donors, your dedication to the fight against skin cancer will help Save Your Skin Foundation continue to support Canadians living with non-melanoma skin cancer, melanoma and ocular melanoma when they need it most. Every single dollar raised through your donations will go directly to patients in the form of cab fares, treatment costs, flights, accommodation and other necessary but costly expenses incurred while receiving treatment.

Thanks to all our participants who sent us pictures of themselves and their teammates taking part in Move for Melanoma, we were able to create a beautiful Wrap video of the event. We encourage you to take 2 minutes to complete our post-event PARTICIPANT SURVEY to help us improve for next year!

WATCH OUR 2020 WRAP VIDEO!

Thank you for all our sponsors

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SYSF Webinar! Basal Cell Carcinoma: What Patients Need to Know

Dr. Max Sauder, Onco-dermatologist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, will review the latest news, clinical data and other updates as they relate to the treatment of cutaneous basal cell carcinoma (BCC), a common and sometimes metastatic skin cancer.  Dr. Sauder will provide an update on skin cancer statistics in Canada, the science behind primary and metastatic BCC diagnosis and treatment, and he will share his key insights into what the landscape of metastatic BCC immuno-oncology treatment looks like for the near future in Canada.

Presenter:

Maxwell B. Sauder|MD, FRCPC, DABD

Onco-dermatologist, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

Research Director, Toronto Research Centre

Director, Pigmented Lesion Clinic, Toronto Dermatology Centre

Dermatologist, Toronto Dermatology Centre

Dr. Sauder is a board-certified dermatologist in Canada and the United States with additional fellowship training in cutaneous oncology. He is a former faculty member of Harvard Medical School where he focused on skin toxicities of anti-cancer treatments (STATs). He is currently an onco-dermatologist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre where he assists in the management of complex cutaneous malignancies and STATs.

Register at the link below! Can’t attend at that time? Register anyway and we’ll send you a link to the recording:

Details

Date:
September 29
Time:
4 pm ET / 1pm PT
Register:
https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/679089577203447056
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Partnership with StayWell

We are excited to announce our partnership with StayWell!  StayWell is a charity that provides subsidized housing accommodations to those who need to relocate for medical treatment.  Their mission is to remove a major financial barrier to life-saving treatments by providing patients with comfortable, local, reduced-cost housing for patients and their families while they undergo hospital treatment.
Visit staywell.charity to find out more!
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Move for Melanoma Fundraising Tips

The Countdown is On!

 

Easy Fundraising Tools

 

To all of you who have already registered, a big thank you! With 25 days to go, we’ve already reached 45% of our fundraising goal. But we can’t stop here!

Soliciting donations doesn’t come naturally to everyone. That’s why we’ve created some fundraising templates that you can use.

These are pre-written messages you can customize and post to your social media or send by email to your friends and family. We wrote five different messages, so you can use the one you prefer, or use a different one every week.

To check out the templates and other resources, click here.

And don’t forget, if you don’t ask, the answer is always no! Most people who know you and your journey would probably love to support you, they just need a tangible way to do it. By asking for help, you’re gifting them with an excellent opportunity to show you they care.

 

Register if you haven’t already

 

It’s not too late to register, but don’t wait much longer. We’ll be sending our beautiful branded Lululemon shirts and other goodies to all Team Captains next week.

If you have any questions about how to register or what it involves, check out our Q&A page here, or email marianne@saveyourskin.ca.

 

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The Importance of Exercising for Maintaining Good Mental Health

How often do you take a moment to check in with your mental health? For many, this aspect of life can be overshadowed or it can conjure up feelings ranging from confusion to contentment. As a result, it is important to acknowledge that even good mental health can include feelings of sadness, anxiety, and anger. The key is knowing how to manage these feelings in a healthy way and how to find a balance in which you can still enjoy life. That being said, in the midst of a global health crisis it is understandable for an individual’s mental health to be significantly impacted. It is common to feel nervous for the future, to feel isolated, and to feel higher levels of stress than usual. Fortunately, the most commonly made New Year’s resolution is also known to be a major remedy in improvement of mental health. The benefits of exercising regularly impact a wide array of areas in the human body so it comes as no surprise that it also results in stronger emotional well being.

How Exercise Impacts Mental Health

Exercise has been proven to minimize daily stress, improve quality and duration of sleep, increase feelings of confidence and improve performance in the classroom at all age levels.* These benefits have a strong correlation with mental health and only make up a fraction of the overall advantages associated with consistent physical activity. You may be wondering what exact mechanisms relate exercise to improved mental health. The answer can be divided into what occurs neurologically, physically and socially from physical activity. For example, neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline are released during exercise and play a vital role in increasing mood. These chemicals can also stimulate the brain to improve attention span and memory which is useful in conducting daily activities.** On the other hand, regular exercise can result in physical changes to the body like weight loss and muscular gain. These changes along with a stronger mood can result in greater confidence and a desire to recreate the feeling from exercising. In addition, the amount of social interactions we have can increase through participating in physical activity. This can happen from joining sports, group fitness classes, or simply working out with friends. An increase in social interactions generally results in individuals feeling happier and well supported. With this underlying knowledge of mental health and exercise you can start to make changes and incorporate physical activity into your daily life.

How to Reap the Benefits of Exercise

For individuals starting their fitness journey the big question is typically: how much exercise is needed to produce effective results? The answers vary depending on the professional asked, the article read, or the study conducted. Taking this into account, the generally accepted response is to do what feels best for you and your body. This could mean going for runs every morning, going to the gym or following along with YouTube workouts. The current state of the virus may make it difficult to visit the gym but with outdoor and at home workouts becoming more prevalent, coaching guides are more accessible than ever. The summer weather can make outdoor workouts increasingly appealing, however extra precautions must be taken to protect our skin from the sun.

With that in mind, check out our list of Sun Safety Apparel Suppliers and our Prevention page. Our website also contains other Mental Health Resources and recordings of Mental Health Webinars. In conclusion, take the time to check in with yourself and utilize the benefits of exercise but always make sure you’re protecting yourself from harmful UV rays as you do so.

 

* For further detail regarding mental health and exercise see “Psychology Works Fact Sheet: Physical Activity, Mental Health and Motivation” by the Canadian Psychological Association, https://cpa.ca/docs/File/Publications/FactSheets/PsychologyWorksFactSheet_PhysicalActivity_MentalHealth_Motivation.pdf

** For more information on the brain effects of exercise watch “The brain-changing benefits of exercise | Wendy Suzuki,” https://youtu.be/BHY0FxzoKZE

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ASCO 2020 Event Report

In 2020, the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting was held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting took place from May 29th-31st, with the last two days being devoted to online presentations.

This report will be dedicated to the presentations that representatives from Save Your Skin Foundation remotely attended, with a focus on melanoma, innovative treatments, and survivorship. The information in this report is sourced directly, occasionally verbatim, from ASCO presentations and abstracts. If you require more information on an abstract, the clinical trial numbers (where available) are included for your reference.

Please CLICK HERE to read or download the report.

 

Feedback or questions?  Contact us – info@saveyourskin.ca

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SYSF Webinar – Melanoma Treatment FAQs: Do’s, Don’ts, and How to Manage Side Effects

 

Recording available! 

Join us to hear the latest updates on current immunotherapy and targeted therapy treatments for melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers in Canada. 

Dr. Smylie and Dr. Iafolla will hold a panel discussion on recommended dietary and lifestyle habits while on treatment, as well as managing toxicities from fever and pneumonitis to dermatologic complications from immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Presenters:

  • Dr. Michael Smylie, Medical Oncologist, Cross Cancer Institute, Professor, Department of Oncology, University of Alberta, Edmonton
  • Dr. Marco Iafolla, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto, Medical Oncologist, Genitourinary and Cutaneous Site Lead, William Osler HS

Click HERE to view the recording!

 

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