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Save Your Skin is a Verified Voice on Healthing.ca

 

Verified Voice

Save Your Skin Foundation is very pleased to announce we are now a Verified Voice on Healthing.ca, providing a wide variety of informational articles including prevention, treatment options, melanoma staging, patient stories and more.

Please visit our profile HERE.

 

Healthing.ca

Healthing.ca is a destination for information on symptoms, diseases and treatments as well as insights on the latest health trends, research and the people who are disrupting health care as we know it.

 

 

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Skin Cancer in People of Colour

During Black History Month we want to bring awareness to how skin cancer and melanoma affect the Black community and people of colour.

Skin cancer is less common in people of colour, but when it does occur, it’s often diagnosed at an advanced stage and has a worse prognosis. This can be deadly when the person has melanoma. Treatment for any type of skin cancer can be difficult in the late stages.

About 52% of Black people and 26% of Hispanics find out they have melanoma when it has already spread, compared with 16% of White people.

One study, found an average five-year melanoma survival rate of only 67% in Black people versus 92% in White people.

According to experts, there’s a lower public awareness overall of the risk of skin cancer among people of colour.

Also, from the perspective of health-care providers, there’s often a lower index of suspicion for skin cancer in patients of colour, because the chances of it actually are smaller. So these patients may be less likely to get regular, full-body skin exams.

 

The warning signs of skin cancer are different in people of colour

 

In people of colour, skin cancer often develops on parts of the body that get less sun like the soles of the feet, lower legs, and palms, which makes detection more difficult. Up to 60 – 75% of melanoma in people of colour occurs on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet and the nail areas. This cancer may also begin around the anus, or on the genitals.

The risk factors for acral melanomas are not fully understood — acral meaning on the hands and feet — but sun is less likely to be a factor. In melanomas on the whole, UV radiation is certainly a major risk factor, and there are plenty of UV-induced melanomas and squamous cell carcinomas in people of colour, who can have a wide range of complexions, from very fair to very dark. But the proportion of skin cancers that occur in non-sun-exposed sites is greater in darker-skinned populations.

About 50% of basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) are pigmented (meaning brown in color) in darker-skinned patients. If you look at the typical photos of BCCs used in educational materials — most of which focus on fair skin — you’ll see a pink, pearly growth that may or may not be crusted. What you’ll almost never see is an image of a brown, slightly translucent lesion. Yet about half of BCCs in darker-skinned patients are brown, or pigmented, and thus easier to miss.

Check out THIS GUIDE for examples of skin cancer on skin of colour.

 

SOURCES:

 

The Skin Cancer Foundation, https://www.skincancer.org/

American Academy of Dermatology Association, https://www.aad.org/

WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/

Gloster HM, Neal K. Skin cancer in skin of color. J Am Acad Dermatol 2006; 55:741-60. https://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(05)02730-1/fulltext

 

 

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Young Winnipeg girl makes buttons for a good cause

A young Winnipeg girl named Drea has been busy during the pandemic making buttons for face masks. The ingenious buttons attach to your glasses to take the pressure off your ears.

With the help of her grandmother Suzanne, Drea launched ‘Designs by Drea’ and began making and selling the buttons in the summer of 2020.  It was always their intention to donate a portion from each sale to Save Your Skin Foundation.

Drea’s uncle Wes has stage 2 high risk melanoma and just finished a year of Immunotherapy treatment.

Last month Drea donated half of her profits to Save Your Skin Foundation, donating the other half to another Canadian skin cancer charity to support efforts to find a cure for melanoma.

You can still purchase buttons at $3.00 for one pair or $5.00 for 2 pair. To order email triathlonski@gmail.com

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Global Coalition launches Skin Check App and Video

In response to the Covid pandemic, the Global Coalition for Melanoma Patient Advocacy has launched two skin self-exam tools to encourage individuals to perform skin self-examinations.

In the fight against melanoma skin cancer, early detection and treatment is critical.

Both the voice-activated app and the video are free to use, so we encourage everybody to find just 10 minutes each month and make conducting a skin self-exam part of their regular routine.

 

1. A voice-activated digital assistant ‘Skin Check’ app

 

Available on both Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant platforms, the app guides people through what to look for, and the seven steps for conducting a full-body skin exam.

The assistant finishes by offering to set a recurring monthly reminder for the exam.

Once enabled, users can simply ask Alexa or Google: “Open Skin Check”

 

 

 

2. A skin self-exam video

 

Similar in scope to the app, the video covers the ABCDE warning signs of melanoma, and the seven steps for checking the body.

Pauses between the seven steps have been included in the film, so that the viewer can simply take their phone or tablet into a bathroom, hit play, and follow the instructions in real time.

 

 

About The Global Coalition for Melanoma Patient Advocacy

 

The Global Coalition for Melanoma Patient Advocacy was formed in 2014 by the Melanoma Research Foundation in response to the global need to bring the patient voice to the melanoma space.

The group has grown to include organizations from 27 different countries and is enthusiastically supported by its partners around the world, as well as the global patient, healthcare and pharmaceutical communities. The Coalition meets the vital needs of the worldwide melanoma community through three working groups, which each specialize in a unique area that addresses globally relevant issues for melanoma patients, encompassing:

  • Melanoma Awareness and Patient Resources
  • Patient Advocacy and Access to Treatment
  • Collaboration and Recruitment

 

The Global Coalition for Melanoma Patient Advocacy meets annually and is determined to make the deadliest skin cancer curable through its worldwide partnership. For more information or with questions about the Global Coalition, email global@melanoma.org.

 

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Sun Safety in the Winter

The arrival of frosty weather prompts the annual changes from t-shirts to turtle necks and flip flops to boots. While cold lemonade is left behind for hot chocolate, one routine that must remain through the seasonal shift is sun safety. Winter leads many to believe that sun protection is no longer required. In reality, fresh snow can reflect between 80-90% of UV rays. The reflection from snow combined with the impact of direct sunlight can therefore result in double exposure.

This high exposure can be especially worrisome while doing winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding. While practicing these sports, people are exposed to blankets of reflective snow along with the consequences of both the sun and the altitude. At higher elevations, UV radiation is absorbed at a lower rate and as a result the UV rays are considerably stronger. The World Health Organization has noted that a 1000 meter increase in altitude is associated with an increase of nearly 10 per cent in UV radiation. To put that into perspective, the ski resort with the highest elevation in Canada is 2,730 meters. According to the estimation, the ski resort faces almost a 30% increase in UV levels due to altitude.

In addition to this, cloudy skies are not enough to stop the penetration of the sun’s rays. The clouds are actually thought to make the sun more harmful because they cause an unpredictable scattering effect of UV rays.

Taking all of this into consideration, there are actions that can be taken to stay safe from the sun throughout winter. First and foremost, it is advised to wear a sunscreen that is  waterproof. This sunscreen should be applied and reapplied especially to often missed areas like the nose, ears, neck and chin. Additionally, layering clothing protects the rest of the body from sun exposure and provides warmth from the cold weather. Finally, gear like helmets and goggles used for winter sports should not be neglected since they act as both a protectant from injuries and the beaming sun. Evidently, winter brings about changes in attire, activities and weather but the importance of sun safety remains. While we should definitely still get outside in the winter for our dose of vitamin D, we should always make sure we’re protecting ourselves and those we love. 

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Register Now for A Vikings’ Challenge

A Viking’s Challenge is Back!

Last March, Chris Isfeld completed a massive challenge, a challenge no one ever thought he’d be able to complete only a couple of years before. Three years after being diagnosed with late stage melanoma and becoming partially paralyzed from the waist down, he ran 30km across frozen Lake Winnipeg and raised almost $20,000 for melanoma patients.

Building on last year’s enormous success, Chris invites you to join A Viking’s Challenge this year by running a distance of your choice anywhere in Canada. By channeling our inner Vikings, we will make a powerful statement of support for Chris’s heroic journey and help support other melanoma patients so they can, one day, be victors themselves.

To learn more about Chris’s story and last year’s challenge, click here.

Register

 

Event Details

When: March 6-7, 2021 – all day
Where: Because of the pandemic, the event will take place virtually, allowing participants to run any distance they choose from any location in Canada and beyond.
How: To participate, you must first register here and pledge to run a certain number of kilometres. We will keep a running tally of the number of kilometres pledged and see how many times we can “cross” Lake Winnipeg.
Each participant will have the option to get a free medal to commemorate their participation. Special t-shirts and other merchandise are also available for purchase in our Etsy store!

How many times will we cross the lake this year?

As of this writing, 13 participants have already pledged to run a total of 205km (last updated on Jan. 18). What will you pledge to run?
As always, every dollar raised through this event will go directly to assisting melanoma, non melanoma skin cancer and ocular melanoma patients meet their everyday needs during treatment in the form of transportation, accommodation, child care, lost wages and more.
So what are you waiting for? Register now for A Viking’s Challenge and start training to channel your inner Viking!

 

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New NCCN Guidelines: Survivorship

SYSF wishes to congratulate the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) on their new release of incredibly valuable patient/caregiver resources!  

Click on the links below to take a look at the new, free informational resources on health and wellness for cancer survivors. These two new NCCN Guidelines for Patients® are focused on healthy living and managing late and long-term side effects, and include appropriate ongoing screening for recurrence.  

The books Survivorship Care for Healthy Living and Survivorship Care for Cancer-Related Late and Long-Term Effects provide jargon-free roadmaps for what comes next after initial cancer diagnosis and therapy.

Save Your Skin Foundation is pleased to have provided endorsement for the books, as well as several quotes from skin cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers in our own community!  Kathy, Mike, Chris, Yvonne – and many more – have offered their helpful words of wisdom to all who read these.  And they join the ranks of SURVIVOR TV show winner and cancer survivor, Ethan Zohn, who can attest that “Getting a cancer diagnosis is scary. Surviving cancer can be even more scary.”  Click here to read the full press release

Though these guidelines are developed with best practices in use in the United States, the resources do apply to patients and clinicians in Canada (where treatment options and accessibility apply), as confirmed with members of the Save Your Skin Foundation Medical Advisory Board.  Canadian doctors do refer to the NCCN clinical guidelines, and they do support the distribution of NCCN patient guidelines to Canadian patients.

There are guidelines created for many cancers; we have listed below the links to each most relevant to the topic of skin cancer or ocular melanoma, as well as supportive topics such as immunotherapy or treatment side effects, and mental wellness issues and survivorship. NCCN guidelines are easy to read, well illustrated, and a valuable resource for patients, available as online e-booklets, download-able PDF files, or on the “NCCN Guides for Cancer” app for iPhone or Android devices and tablets.

To view the guidelines, please click the following links:

NCCN Guidelines for Patients®: Melanoma

NCCN Guidelines for Patients®: Squamous Cell Skin Cancer

NCCN Guidelines for Patients®: Immunotherapy Side Effects series:

Immunotherapy Side Effects: CAR T-Cell Therapy and  Immunotherapy Side Effects: Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors

NCCN Guidelines for Patients®: Survivorship Care for Healthy Living and Survivorship Care for Cancer-Related Late and Long-Term Effects 

NCCN Guidelines for Patients®: Distress

NCCN Guidelines for Patients®: Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer

Coming Soon – Guidelines for Patients on Basal Cell Carcinoma, and Uveal/Ocular Melanoma!  If you wish to read the Clinical Guidelines (for Health Care Providers), please see here:  NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines®: Uveal Melanoma

The Patient books are available for free to view and print at NCCN.org/patients or via the NCCN Patient Guides for Cancer App: Virtual Library of NCCN Guidelines® App – Available for iPhone/iPad and Android Smartphone/Tablet

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) is a not-for-profit alliance of 28 leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education. NCCN is dedicated to improving and facilitating quality, effective, efficient, and accessible cancer care so patients can live better lives. Through the leadership and expertise of clinical professionals at NCCN Member Institutions, NCCN develops clinical practice guidelines appropriate for use by patients, clinicians, and other health care decision-makers around the world.

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A Viking’s Challenge is Back!

A Viking's Challenge is BackMark your calendars! The second edition of A Viking’s Challenge will be taking place on March 6, 2021. 

Last March, Chris Isfeld ran 30km across frozen Lake Winnipeg and raised almost $20,000 for melanoma patients! Building on last year’s enormous success, Chris invites you to join A Viking’s Challenge this year by running a distance of your choice anywhere in Canada.

Chris’s Story

Chris is a melanoma survivor. His story with cancer began in 2017 when he was diagnosed with advanced melanoma. He was given lifesaving immunotherapy treatment just in time. The treatment was challenging but it proved to be effective. The cancer stopped growing and the side effects became more manageable over the next few months. Soon, he was walking again. By December 2018, just one year after his melanoma diagnosis, he was lacing up his running shoes again.

The results of his latest PET/CT scan, on November 2, 2019, show an almost complete metabolic response; he is well on the way to becoming NED (No Evidence of Disease).

 

A Viking's Challenge is BackTHE CHALLENGE

Chris had been frequently running and practicing yoga to overcome the physical and emotional anguish he was feeling.

In an interview with Global News, he said:

“A friend of mine, Shawn Bjornsson from Winnipeg, posted a photo after he did a 5K run in -40, and for some reason, I just made a comment and said, ‘Hey, I’ll race you across the lake,’ just as a joke, But a week later, I thought about it, and thought, ‘You know what, this is an absolutely great idea.’

“It gives me something to focus on, and obviously with my diagnosis, I had gotten to know the people at Save Your Skin Foundation very well, and decided that I should do it as a fundraiser and raise money for them.”

THE RACE

True to their Viking roots, they didn’t back down from a challenge. On March 7, 2020, they ran about 30 km from Grand Beach, Manitoba to Gimli, Manitoba, raising almost $20,000 for Save Your Skin Foundation. Read more about last year’s race here.

This Year’s Challenge

Last year’s race was a personal challenge for Chris and his friend Shawn, but since so many expressed an interest in joining the challenge in future years, Chris has decided to open the challenge up to the general public this year. Because of the pandemic, the event will take place virtually, allowing participants to run any distance they choose from any location in Canada and beyond. To participate, runners will have to register and make a one-time donation to Save Your Skin Foundation. More details will be coming soon but, in the mean time, lace up those running shoes, put on your helmet and start channeling your inner Viking!

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Happy Holidays from the SYSF Team!

From Save Your Skin Foundation’s Founder and President, Kathy Barnard, here is a message of thanks to all those who supported the Foundation this past year. SYSF’s team is so very grateful to all those who helped us as we continued offering the best support possible to melanoma, non-melanoma skin cancer and ocular melanoma patients and caregivers, despite the unprecedented challenges we faced this year.

Warmest wishes for a happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year. With lots of love.

 

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Sun Safe BC

BC Sun Safety Coalition

Sun Safe BC is a provincial coalition with members involved in sun safety and skin cancer prevention work.  Coordinated and administered by BC Cancer Prevention Program, the coalition works collaboratively to reduce the risk of exposure to UV and its damaging effects. We do this through policy and health protection measures, and by providing health promotion messaging and education to people in BC, with a particular focus on infants, children and youth.

Membership

  • Save Your Skin Foundation
  • Canadian Cancer Society
  • CAREX Canada
  • Vancouver Coastal Health
  • BC Centre for Disease Control
  • UBC Dermatology
  • BC Children’s Hospital
  • BC Cancer
  • Canadian Dermatology Association

 

Action Areas

CAPACITY FOR ACTION – Strengthen capacity among priority population service providers and educators

SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENTS – Create and strengthen supportive environments to limit exposure to UV radiation

POLICY & DECISION MAKING – Inform decision making and seek to influence sun safe policies, advancing toward provincial policy creation or amendments when and where possible;

ATTITUDE, KNOWLEDGE & BEHAVIOUR – Influence and improve attitudes, knowledge and behaviour around sun safety and develop individual skills to keep healthy and avoid UV radiation damage.

 

Current and past projects

Online Training for Early Childhood Educators

Developed and currently hosting zoom workshops for early childhood educators as part of their professional development requirements.  Early Childhood Educators can play an important role in protecting children from the sun’s rays. The course covers important information about skin cancer and ultraviolet radiation, sun protection methods and easy and practical ways to build sun safety into daily routines at childcare centres.  We are working to convert the course to an interactive, online platform and are looking to expand course offering to others working directly with children.

Shade Pilot Project

We are working with the City of Vancouver to design and install shade solutions for their high UV exposure childcare facilities.  We are currently building a research plan to measure UV exposure and physical activity levels in centres with and without shade sails installed.

Sunscreen Dispenser Project

Members of the coalition have been working to have sunscreen dispensers installed at select park locations during spring/summer months.  To date, sunscreen dispensers have been installed at New Westminster’s Riverfront Park and two park locations in Kelowna.

 

Reports

Annual report 2019/20

Contact

For more information or to connect, visit the website HERE or email breann.corcoran at bccancer.bc.ca or call 604-838-7808.

 

 

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