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skin cancer

Webinar: Diagnosed with Skin Cancer? Here’s What To Do Next

View the recording of our webinar ~ February 24, 2022

An Hour with Kathy Barnard

In this webinar, Kathy Barnard, founder of SYSF and melanoma survivor, shares her experience navigating and advocating through the Canadian health care system, which is complicated and can be confusing to many. She helps patients and caregivers understand how to get from diagnosis to surgical and/or systemic treatment of melanoma or non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) such as metastatic basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) or merkel cell carcinoma (MCC).

Click HERE to view the recording!

And click HERE to download/print a list of Questions you can ask your Doctor

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New! NCCN Guide for Patients – Basal Cell Skin Cancer

Save Your Skin Foundation is pleased to endorse and announce the release of the new Guidelines for Patients booklet on Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC, or Basal Cell Skin Cancer) from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®).

This informative pdf-downloadable or print version booklet will help patients understand their BCC diagnosis and support them through their surgical and treatment options journey. BCC primarily impacts lighter-skinned, sun-exposed people over age 60, due to the buildup of sun exposure over the years. However, skin cancer has recently become more common in younger people, likely as a result of them spending more time in the sun. In very rare instances untreated BCC can progress significantly and be life-threatening. This new resource provides trustworthy information based on the latest evidence, and is available online at NCCN.org/patientguidelines

NCCN® guidelines are easy to read, free, well illustrated, valuable resources for patients and caregivers, available as online e-booklets, download-able PDF files, or on the “NCCN Guides for Cancer” app for iPhone or Android devices and tablets.  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.

 

To view the full collection of National Comprehensive Cancer Network® Guidelines for Patients on melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers and related treatments and resources, please view our page here:

NCCN Guidelines for Skin Cancers

 

And for more information about Basal Cell Carcinoma, including our 2020 webinar on the topic, please visit our page here:

About Basal Cell Carcinoma

 

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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Move for Melanoma After Party

Join the funnest part of MOVE FOR MELANOMA this year by joining our VIRTUAL AFTER PARTY! Celebrate with the Save Your Skin team, donors and fellow participants! Everyone is welcome!

The After Party will take place on Sunday, September 26th, 2021 at 5pm PT | 8pm ET on a platform called Topia. If you attended our virtual Giving Hope Gala in the spring, then you will know that Topia is a fun, new, online chat platform that allows us to connect virtually in a more human way. You’ll easily be able to move in and out of conversations with other attendees like you would in person with the platform’s spatial video, while also exploring a world full of surprises.

In the meantime, click here to share, participate in, and stay up to date on the progress of our 3rd annual Move for Melanoma event!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What you’ll need:

  • A computer or a tablet – You’ll need a Windows or Mac desktop or laptop computer equipped with a camera, or a Android Tablet or Ipad. For the best experience on Android tablets please use “desktop mode” in Chrome. 
  • A supported web browser – Topia works best on Google Chrome, Edge, and Brave on desktop and laptop computers. For best results we recommend using one of these three browsers.
  • Headphones – There is ambient sound in Topia which is personal to you. Headphones ensure a great experience. Without headphones, higher volume can result in feedback for other guests or mixed sounds which isn’t fun for anyone.

 

How to join:

  • On September 26th at 5pm PT | 8pm ET, click on this link to join: https://topia.io/save-your-skin-foundation. Don’t bother trying to go on beforehand as it will not be available.
  • When you first go in, you will be asked to choose a display name.
  • Your browser will ask for permission to use your camera and audio. If you have Zoom/Teams/Skype open you won’t be able to do this, so please make sure they’re closed first.

 

What to do once you’re in:

  • You can move around the space using either mouse clicks or your arrow cursor buttons.
  • You hear and see people better the closer you are to their little “Topi,” or person.
  • If you walk away from people you hear and see them less. People “fade out” as they get farther away.
  • As you explore, notice when your cursor turns into a pointer. This indicates that the object your mouse is on has a function. Click to interact with the object. 
  • You can mute yourself or others by clicking the speaker icon in the top right corner of your video or theirs. When muted the speaker will turn from black to red.
  • To send a private message to someone at the gala, click on the envelope symbol on their video. If someone sends you a private message, the envelope symbol to the left of your screen will become red. 

 

For complete instructions on how to use Topia and join the party, click here!

 

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Calling All Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer Patients – Survey 2021

We invite all non-melanoma skin cancer patients having had surgical procedure(s) and/or systemic treatment to take this 10-minute anonymous survey to share their feedback:

The Patient Experience: Surgical and Systemic Treatment of Advanced Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma Skin Cancers

Information gathered from this survey will be part of Save Your Skin Foundation’s recommendations to the CADTH Common Drug Review (CDR) and the pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review (pCODR), and will help us better understand discussions that skin cancer patients have with their surgeons along the treatment continuum.

This survey is now closed.  Thanks to All for their feedback and support.

Stay tuned for the resulting report. 

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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.

Save Your Skin Foundation, along with many other skin cancer organizations, is working to include more skin of colour in images of skin cancers.

 

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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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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Move for Melanoma is Back

This September, join us from your living room, your yard, your neighbourhood park, or your favorite trail to move your body and fundraise for a great cause!

Being physically apart won’t stop us from coming together!

 

 

On September 26-27th, Save Your Skin Foundation will be hosting its 2nd annual Move for Melanoma activity challenge across Canada to raise funds for melanoma, non-melanoma skin cancer, and ocular melanoma patients.

Since physical distancing protocols will likely still be in effect at the time of the event, we have reimagined it to allow you to attend virtually. As the saying goes, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”! It’s in this spirit that we’ve decided to make the best of this situation by ramping up our game this year with a virtual opening ceremony, games and prizes for your whole family and physical challenges you can take part in from the comfort of your own home!

 

We’ve made it super easy for you to participate!

Simply follow these steps:

 

 

REGISTER NOW

 

Why: Save Your Skin Foundation is the only organization in Canada that supports skin cancer patients financially when they need it most. All the money raised through your donations goes directly to patients in the form of cab fares, treatment costs, flights, accommodation and other necessary but costly expenses incurred while receiving treatment. In the past year, we have received more requests for support than we could afford to fulfill. Having to say no to a patient in need is something we dread doing. With your support, we won’t have to do it this year!

Charities across Canada are suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Donations are down across the board. SYSF is no exception. We had to cancel our Gala this spring and regular donations have been in slow decline. And yet, skin cancer continues to be diagnosed at an alarming rate.

Furthermore, a recent survey we conducted has confirmed our fears: melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer patients are encountering additional difficulties due to the pandemic, from treatments being postponed, to difficulty getting in contact with their care team. Needless to say, financial worries should be the last thing on the mind of cancer patients as they navigate these stressful times. Help us make sure we have the resources needed to allow everyone the same chance of survival.

 

Larry & Kara Perehudoff showing off their SYS jerseys during last year’s event.

 

Choose an activity from the list below or come up with your own!

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SIGN ME UP!

 

Whether you’re a survivor who wants to bring hope to newly diagnosed patients, a family member or friend of a patient who wants to send a powerful message of solidarity to patients across Canada, or a patient who wants to help change the face of cancer forever, we invite you to take a stance against melanoma and to move with us this September!

Hand in hand, we fight melanoma together!

 

For more info on supporting Save Your Skin Foundation, check out our Volunteer page.

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SYSF Webinar! MANAGEMENT OF MELANOMA TREATMENT in the COVID-19 Setting

Recording available!

MANAGEMENT OF MELANOMA TREATMENT in the COVID-19 Setting

Hear a panel discussion from the Surgical and Medical Oncology perspective on how melanoma treatment has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Focus:

Treatment side effects
Common side effects of targeted therapy and immunotherapies in melanoma
How side effects may overlap with COVID-19 symptoms
What to watch for
How to effectively manage key common side effects of targeted therapy and immunotherapies

Presenters:
Nicole Look Hong, MD, M.Sc., Surgeon, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Marcus Butler, MD, Medical Oncology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
Massey Nematollahi, RN, CNS, OCN, CON, Immuno-Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist, William Osler Health System

Facilitator:
Kathy Barnard, melanoma survivor, and Founder, Save Your Skin Foundation

Click HERE to listen to the recording  

To view the educational video developed by the team at William Osler Health System please Click HERE

To learn more about the COVID-19 Cancer Patient Support Hub and resources mentioned by Kathy, please visit this website:   https://covid19oncologyresources.ca/

 

 

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This Melanoma Awareness Month, Don’t Forget Sun Safety!

Every May is not only Melanoma Awareness Month, but also the beginning of sunny weather and summer plans. This year, while we are sheltering in place, going to the park or for a walk can be a great way to improve your mood; however, it is important to make sure that you are not only socially distancing, but also taking sun safety measures. 

In 2019, the Canadian Cancer Society estimated that of the 220,400 new cancer cases in 2019, 7,800 were melanoma (p. 25). Melanoma counts for 7% of cancer diagnoses for both the youth/young adult (15-29) and adult (30-49) demographics, as per a distribution of new cancer cases (for selected cancers) by age group in Canada (excluding Quebec), in 2011-2015 (p. 14). While the incidence rates for melanoma are not as high as other types of cancer, the mortality rates are substantial: of the 82,100 projected cancer deaths in 2019, 1,300 are expected to be due to melanoma (p. 47). Therefore, it is important to be vigilant in protecting yourself when you are outside in the sun, even if it is a quick trip.

It is true that certain populations are more at risk of developing skin cancer, such as those who have skin cancer in their family, are fair-skinned, or are taking any medication that may suppress their immune system; however, anyone who had frequent or extreme sunburns in adolescence, or continues to spend prolonged, unprotected time in the sun, is dramatically increasing their risk of developing skin cancer, as every sunburn is indicative of skin damage. While some of these circumstances are unavoidable, it is possible to reduce your risk of skin cancer by taking the following precautionary measures while enjoying your time in the sun. We encourage you to share these tips with your friends and family by sharing our Sun Safety Awareness Resources page, which has links to several helpful online and print guides to sun safety and skin cancer awareness.

Prevention

The most important sun safety tip is to limit your exposure to it. Enjoy the outdoors, but take these precautions:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunscreen is also your ally. Here are some tips:

  • Carry a travel-sized sunscreen and an SPF lip balm with you at all times, so you are always prepared
  • Get a sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 and offers UVA and UVB protection
  • Apply your sunscreen 20 minutes before going out in the sun
  • Reapply your sunscreen every two hours
  • Cream or lotion-based sunscreens provide better coverage than sprays
  • Make a list of the places you often forget, and cover them first– often-forgotten spots include the tops of feet, backs of hands, neck and ears

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before going out, don’t forget to consult the UV Index rating in your area. You can also download UV Index apps such as the UV Index Widget or the Wolfram Sun Exposure Reference App. Use guide above to help you interpret UV ratings.

Detection

Throughout the year, it is important to give yourself a self skin-check once a month. If you have a partner, perform them for each other. Take photos of, or write down, any existing moles, so you have a reference in case of any changes. To ensure that you do not miss a spot, visit the Skin Cancer Foundation guide to self-exams. If you see any changes in a mole, any new growths or moles, or you develop a sore that does not heal, get in touch with your health practitioner as soon as possible– it never hurts to be cautious, and earlier detection means earlier treatment. 

When checking your own skin or that of your loved ones, keep in mind the “ABCDEFG’s” of skin checks:

  • A – Asymmetry. The shape of one half does not match the other half.
  • B – Border that is irregular. The edges are often ragged, notched, or blurred in outline. The pigment may spread into the surrounding skin.
  • C – Colour that is uneven. Shades of black, brown, and tan may be present. Areas of white, grey, red, pink, or blue may also be seen.
  • D – Diameter. There is a change in size, usually an increase. Melanomas can be tiny, but most are larger than 6 millimeters wide (about 1/4 inch wide).
  • E – Evolving. The mole has changed over the past few weeks or months.
  • F – Firm. Is the mole harder than the surrounding skin?
  • G – Growing. Is the mole gradually getting larger?

While checking your skin for moles, you should also be keeping an eye out for actinic keratosis, also known as solar keratosis. Actinic keratosis generally develops in older people on sun-exposed areas of the skin. Actinic keratosis feels like a rough patch on the skin, and may become visible as red scaly patches; it is often confused with eczema. It may feel tender to the touch. If left untreated, actinic keratosis may develop into squamous cell carcinoma.

 

 

 

 

 

(“Actinic Keratosis.” Scars Center.)

When you are spending time outside this summer, do not forget to take sun safety precautions. Stay safe out there!

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