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SYSF Webinar: Skin Cancer A-Z

Webinar Recording Available: “Melanoma and Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers From A-Z” with Dermatologist Thomas G. Salopek, MD FRCPC, Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Dermatology, University of Alberta.

This webinar helps educate the general public about the dangers of UV exposure, and it also addresses what options patients and their families have if they are diagnosed with any form of skin cancer. Learn about skin cancer statistics in Canada, sun protection and safety, and details on treatment for primary and metastatic basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, merkel cell carcinoma, and melanoma and melanoma sub-types. For more detailed information on immunotherapy and targeted therapy for each of these please view our webinars on each, at https://saveyourskin.ca/webinars-video-resources/

This webinar presentation is in collaboration with Save Your Skin Foundation, La Roche-Posay, the Quebec Cancer Foundation, and the Alberta Society of Melanoma.

To view the presentation recording, click here: https://youtu.be/Ae_QXVAk_lY

To view the French recording please click here: https://youtu.be/Yoh38INeDgo

To learn more about treatment options for melanoma, please click here to see another of our past webinars detailing immunotherapy and targeted therapy:  https://youtu.be/nS9OAFgknwE

To learn all about the NCCN Patient Guidelines to which Dr. Salopek referred, please click here: https://saveyourskin.ca/nccn-guidelines-for-skin-cancers/

For questions or more information on anything presented here please email natalie@saveyourskin.ca or reach Kathy at 1-800-460-5832

 

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Launch of Free, Public Sunscreen Dispensers in Kelowna

Today marks the launch of two free, public sunscreen dispensers in key Kelowna hot spots. The project has been powered by Morgan’s Mole Patrol and Save Your Skin Foundation, with the support of the City of Kelowna.  Click here to read our press release.

In memory of her son Morgan Forshner, Karen Wells of Kelowna, started Morgan’s Mole Patrol Foundation to spread awareness about the importance of sun safety. Her aim is to stop the spread of melanoma, a largely preventable cancer – with the application of some sun smart behaviour.  Karen reached out to Kathy Barnard of Save Your Skin Foundation in the initiative, and quickly a partnership was born.

This launch is just the beginning of Karen and Kathy’s plan to install many more dispensers in Kelowna and all over British Columbia.  Stay tuned for news!

First located at the Kelowna’s Visitor Centre downtown, and the Kelowna Golf & Country Club, the dispensers are automatic and touchless, and will provide free, Health Canada approved SPF 30 sunscreen for anyone who needs it. The dispensers use SPF 30 sunscreen, free from known dangerous ingredients such as parabens, oxybenzone, retinyl palminate, phthalate, PEG, parfume, and sodium lauryl sulphate.

Applying sunscreen is part of an overall sun-safe way to enjoy the outdoors. First, limit your time in the direct sunlight, especially between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., seek shade, cover up by wearing long sleeves and pants and a wide-brimmed hat. Use sunscreen, specifically one labelled broad-spectrum, SPF 30, protect the lips with lip sunscreen or zinc oxide. Apply 20 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply every two hours or after swimming.

Shoutout to David Cornfield Melanoma Fund, who first launched their sunscreen dispensers pilot in Toronto in 2017. Since then they continue to inspire us all with the growth of their program, totalling 50 dispensers in 2018, and they now have 75. Way to go!

Congratulations to Karen and her family, we know Morgan would feel honoured today.

 

 

 

 

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Updating the ABCDE’s of Skin Checks

We have long known that monthly skin self-examination is an important piece of a vigilant routine for a healthy life.  Everyone should check their own skin – and that of their loved ones – for any irregularities or atypical markings, lumps or bumps.  Early detection is key, and can make all the difference in the case of any melanoma OR non-melanoma skin cancer diagnosis.

At the World Congress of Melanoma last fall, we learned that there are two new letters in the traditional ABCDE’s of skin checking: F and G

F for Firmis the mole harder than the surrounding skin?

G for Growingis the mole gradually getting larger? 

As the alphabet of skin-checking grows, so does our awareness of the importance of the following:

 

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 – Color that is uneven. Shades of black, brown, and tan may be present. Areas of white, gray, 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

G – Growing

Save Your Skin Foundation has developed new post-card style brochures to share this information, which remind us of these helpful tips that could save the skin we’re in.  Check out the images below or on our downloadable resources page, and if you would like to receive some of these cards for your awareness or educational event, please contact info@saveyourskin.ca and we will send you some!

In the meantime, check your skin – all over! – and ask your doctor about any concerns you may have.

 

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Don’t Try this at Home: DIY Sunscreen

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As much as we love a good DIY project, sunscreen is something that is best left to medical professionals!

If you google or pinterest “DIY sunscreen,” you might be surprised at the amount of homemade recipes that come up for a medical product. The motivation behind making sunscreen from scratch- other than cutting costs- is ingredient control. While it makes sense to be concerned about what chemicals could be absorbed into your skin from sunscreen, it is important to remember that all sunscreens go through rigorous Health Canada testing before they are allowed on the market. There are also organic sunscreens such as Badger, Climb On, and Sun Stuff, available for purchase in most drugstores and online.

While utilizing natural ingredients such as shea butter and various oils (such as coconut or avocado) doesn’t raise concerns about chemical composition, regulation of consistency and quality is difficult in a homemade product, and there is no guarantee that these ingredients include SPF- which endows sunscreen with UV protection. As UV exposure is the greatest risk factor for melanoma and other skin cancers (Canadian Cancer Society, “Risk factors for melanoma“), sunscreen without SPF is essentially worthless. Additionally, commercial sunscreens contain preservatives, while homemade sunscreens have the ability to spawn mould, which may not be visible to the user.

While some natural oils, such as coconut oil, can provide some UV protection, the Mayo Clinic estimates that coconut oil is capable of blocking only 20% of the sun’s rays, while the American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher for adequate protection (Mayo Clinic, “Myth or Fact: Coconut is an effective sunscreen”). Additionally, most sunscreens on the market provide both UVA (longer wave) and UBV (shorter wave) protection, something that is highly unlikely in a homemade sunscreen.

Melanoma is a preventable disease, and part of ensuring that you are protected against the sun is by wearing Health Canada approved sunscreen! If you’re interested in hearing a dermatologist’s perspective, check out PR Web’s spot with Dr. Mitchel Goldman.

 

Sources:

Badger, “Why you Can’t Count on DIY Sunscreens“.

Canadian Cancer Society, “Risk factors for melanoma“.

Health Canada, “Sunscreen Monograph- Version 2.0“.

Mayo Clinic, “Myth or Fact: Coconut is an effective sunscreen“.

Pr Web, “Leading Dermatologist Warns Against Dangers of Homemade Sunscreen“.

 

 

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A Sun Safety Reminder from The Save Your Skin Foundation!

Summer has officially begun, and while it’s off to a cloudy start here at Save Your Skin in Vancouver, it’s important to remember sun safety during your outdoor activities! Though it is tempting to get a tan during the summer, keep in mind that the Canadian Cancer Society cites exposure to ultraviolet radiation as the greatest risk factor for the development of skin cancer. Melanoma is often a preventable disease, yet it is estimated that in 2017, 7, 200 Canadians were diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer and 74, 000 with non-melanoma skin cancer. That is why it’s essential to keep sun safety in mind if you’re working or playing outside this summer!

If you choose to wear sunscreen, it should have at least SPF 30, with UVA and UVB protection. The high SPF ensures that you will be well protected if you apply every two hours, while UVA and UVB protection shields you from both longer and shorter UV rays, respectively. It is a good idea to reapply more frequently if you are sweating or swimming, as moisture can rinse away sunscreen, and if you are at the beach, as sand can reflect ultraviolet rays. Remember to apply sunscreen to areas which are often forgotten, such as the back of your neck, your ears, the backs of your hands and the tops of your feet. If you are concerned about the chemical compositions of sunscreen, you can stay sun safe with organic sunscreens, which contain zinc oxide as their only active ingredient. They are available at most drug stores. Whatever sunscreen you use, remember to apply it fifteen minutes before leaving the house, so the ingredients have time to be absorbed into your skin!

There are ways to protect yourself from UV rays as an alternative, or in addition, to wearing sunscreen. These include wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes and prevent ocular melanoma, and a hat to shield the top of your head and neck and long sleeved shirts and pants. It is wise to seek shade whenever possible, especially when you don’t have the protection of sunscreen or clothing.

Sun safety is especially important for children. There are links between intermittent and intense sun exposure (resulting in burns) in adolescence and the development of skin cancers later in life, and skin cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in Canadian youth from 15-35 years old. While it is a good idea to introduce your children to sun safety early, keep in mind that the developing skin of babies is sensitive to both UV damage and the chemicals found in sunscreen. It is therefore best practice to keep babies out of the sun as much as possible.

If you live in a city with inconsistent weather, it is important to be protected even when the sun isn’t shining. The Skin Cancer Foundation estimates that up to 40% of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation can still reach the earth through clouds, so it is important to consider sun safety even when the sky is grey. While we recommend wearing sunscreen every day, check a UV index app if you need convincing; if the UV index is higher than 3, the US Environmental Protection Agency recommends taking full sun safety measures. While we may take it for granted, the skin is our largest organ, and it deserves to be taken care of!

Thanks for reading! On behalf of the The Save Your Skin Foundation, have a great and sun safe summer!

 

 

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