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  • I had arranged for a family friend, Maryellen Maguire-Eisen, to come to my high school to provide an assembly on skin cancer prevention.
    My Mother was a dermatologist and I knew that one person died every forty-five minutes from skin cancer, a preventable disease. I wanted to share this important prevention information with my friends. You can imagine how surprised I was when one of my best friends, a young woman of African ABlack Teenagermerican descent, whined, “I am only going to this program because I know that it is important to you.”

    Fortunately for both of us, she soon realized that this health problem was more important that she had realized. Initially, while looking around the room at all of the light skinned girls, she felt as if she didn't need to know about skin cancer prevention. This attitude changed immediately when the presenter said, Bob Marley died of melanoma. What, she thought, you must be joking Bob Marley died of skin cancer. That fact really caught her attention. She then learned that anybody can get skin cancer anywhere on their body. She left the SunAWARE program feeling more aware and confident about taking care of her skin.

    Later, at lunch, she lectured me on how melanin protects you from sun damage and skin cancer. She said that she now realized that although she had more melanin than I did, we both needed to protect ourselves from the sun. My friend learned that although she is at low risk for melanoma that it could affect people of color. I was so happy that she found the program meaningful.

  • IMG 0843

    Part 1: “Well, this can’t be good.”
    A mole on my left leg was itching terribly one day in 2012 when I was driving to work. While I was scratching it, I felt a warm liquid go down my leg. I looked down and saw I was bleeding pretty badly and the mole was hanging off my leg. I remember thinking, “Well, this can’t be good.” I went home, called the dermatologist and ended up with an appointment 4 weeks later. At the appointment, the doctor said it looked fine and he doubted I had anything to worry about.
    Three days later he called and told me my biopsy came back positive for melanoma. About a week later, the mole was surgically removed and I was told margins were all clear. I was good to go on with my life.
    Part 2: Not so fast...
    In September 2014, I was taking bins down from my attic to start decorating the house for Halloween when I noticed a hard bump in my groin area right where my lymph nodes would be. I was a little concerned but blew it off. After a week of this bump still being there, I told my sister who told me to call my doctor immediately. To be honest, I didn’t know which doctor to call. My general practitioner or my OB/GYN? I hadn’t thought to call my dermatologist until someone asked me if it was on the same leg where I had my melanoma in 2012, and it was. After about 3 weeks of my sister yelling at me and now someone telling me I should call the dermatologist, I finally did. I explained the situation to the receptionist who seemed uninterested and didn’t make the appointment for another 3 weeks.
    At the appointment, the doctor examined the lump and I watched the color from his face drain. Again, I thought: “Well, that can’t be good.” He immediately sent me to the same surgeon who removed my melanoma in 2012. The surgeon seemed unconcerned and said: “I know I got it all in 2012.” I then broke down in tears because I just knew he was wrong...I could feel it. I went in for my surgery on October 13, 2014. The surgeon removed that one lymph node and said he would call me in a few days with the results. On October 16, he called me with the devastating news that it was indeed melanoma in my lymph node. I had Stage 3 melanoma. I felt like I was standing in the middle of a room and everything around me was going 100 mph! After I hung up, I had to call my husband and other family members. In between the calls, I was pacing back and forth and begging God not to take me from my children. I also had a lot of guilt for all the years I used a tanning bed and didn’t put sun block on at the beach. How could I be so vain and stupid? I honestly never knew you could actually die from skin cancer.

    Stay tuned for more of Amy's story !

     

     

  • More than 5 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each year, making it the #1 cancer in the United States. Although $8 billion dollars is spent annually on treating skin cancer, we still loose one person every 45 minutes to the disease. Nurses play an important role in educating patients and their communities about skin cancer prevention.

    In 2014, the U.S. Surgeon General, Admiral Boris Lushniak, issued a Call to Action (CTA) to Prevent Skin Cancer. He declared that skin cancer was a major public health problem for Americans. The CTA included five strategic goals to educate, advocate, research and protect Americans from skin cancer.

    The Surgeon General’s Call to Action Goals:
    1) increasing opportunities for sun protection in outdoor settings;
    2) providing individuals with information to make informed, healthy choices about UV exposure;
    3) promoting policies that advance the national goal of preventing skin cancer;
    4) reducing harm from indoor tanning;
    5) strengthening research, surveillance, monitoring, and evaluation related to skin cancer prevention.

    The Surgeon General’s CTA has been an important step forward in galvanizing all stakeholders to take action to prevent skin cancer. One nursing organization, the Dermatology Nurses Association (DNA), has responded to the CTA by issuing an official Position Statement that includes strategies to address the national CTA goals. DNA issued a press release on May 2, 2016, outlining its position on the CTA and recognizing its efforts in support of May as the official Melanoma Awareness month in the U.S.

    The DNA’s official position is to use the SunAWARE acronym and materials to promote the Surgeon General’s Call to Action by educating our patients, individuals, colleagues, teachers, administrators, lawmakers, town planners, and others to Be Safe, Be SunAWARE!

    The SunAWARE acronym is comprised of five easy steps, in order of prevention priority:

    Avoiding unprotected UV exposure, seek shade, and never indoor tan.
    Wear sun protective clothing, including broad brimmed hats, long sleeves, pants and sunglasses.
    Apply adequate amounts of a BROAD SPECTRUM sunscreen and reapply at least every two hours.
    Routinely check your whole body for new and changing growths, and report suspicious changes to a health care provider.
    Educate your family and community about sun protection and skin cancer prevention.

    Reference:
    Call to Action: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/calls/prevent-skin-cancer/index.html.

    DNA Position Statement on the Call to Action:
    http://www.dnanurse.org/docs/5216pressrelease.pdf

  • NursingGeorgetown Tanning Infographic
    Of all the risky behaviors that teens may engage in, indoor tanning is one that’s most directly related to preventable and potentially deadly skin cancers — namely, melanoma. That’s why it’s important for teens, their parents, and healthcare providers to have a clear understanding about the facts of teenage indoor tanning — and why the risks are particularly high for adolescents.

    Indoor Tanning Trends Among Teens

    Although indoor tanning rates are trending down among high school students, the prevalence is still dangerously high. According to the 2013 U.S. Youth Risk Behavior Survey,  just over 20 percent of female high school students used an indoor tanning device in 2013 and 10.3 percent did so frequently. Most commonly, these were non-Hispanic white females.  Among male students, just over five percent engaged in indoor tanning, and two percent tanned frequently.

    To understand such trends, it’s important to know the motivation behind them. According to the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer, one central reason is the age-old symptom of youth: peer pressure. Social norms equate a tan with attractiveness and health. In addition, indoor tanning may actually be somewhat addictive — and researchers are currently evaluating if this is the case.

    How Teen Habits Impact the Overall Rate of Indoor Tanning in the U.S.
    The indoor tanning industry is definitely benefiting from the habits of teens — since it’s estimated that 2.3 million teens visit a tanning salon at least once a year. However, the increased evidence of risk has led to more regulations for the industry — with an ongoing call for even more.
    Currently, 44 states and the District of Columbia have some kind of law or regulation in place that restricts indoor tanning for minors under a certain age — and evidence suggests that such restrictions are effective in reducing usage in this population.

    The Risks of Indoor Tanning for Teens
    Indoor tanning exposes usersto two types of UV rays, UVA (tanning/aging and UVB (burning) — both of which damage skin and can cause various types of cancer. This is particularly the case for teens, who have a higher long-term risk for getting melanoma associated with indoor tanning behaviors — as well premature skin aging. Short-term risks include the potential for burns to the skin and eye damage if appropriate protection isn’t used.

    How Can Parents and Providers Discourage Indoor Tanning?
    In addition to the issues discussed previously, other factors which influence indoor tanning by teens include lack of awareness of the dangers involved, and the influence of the adults in their lives. Research has shown that parental acceptance of tanning has a strong influence on adolescent tanning behaviors, especially between mothers and adolescent daughters — so it’s important for parents to set good examples.
    In addition, in order to increase awareness, primary care providers need to properly educate young patients and appropriate education about the dangers of indoor tanning to their young patients and their families — as well as regular screenings for skin cancer detection. If everyone involved is armed with the facts about teenage indoor tanning, a coordinated effort can be achieved to help discourage this high-risk behavior.

     This infographic was produced by Nursing@Georgetown, the online Master of Science in Nursing degree from Georgetown University's School of Nursing & Health Studies.

  • Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, and instances of melanoma have been steadily rising in recent years, especially in young adults and children. Tens of thousands of Americans are diagnosed with melanoma each year. If your child has been diagnosed with melanoma, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may be able to help by providing your family with a monthly financial benefit to offset the costs of treatment.

    Supplementary Security Income
    The SSA offers two types of disability assistance, but children are only eligible to receive Supplementary Security Income (SSI). SSI is for people of all ages who have not worked throughout their lives.

    SSI is a needs-based program, meaning families with a high income will not qualify, regardless of how severe their child’s melanoma is. The system the SSA uses to decide how much your monthly payments can be is complicated. It examines all of the income available to the child, including both your income and the child’s, if applicable.

    The SSA has a guide on how much a family can earn and still have a child qualify for disability benefits. The larger your family, the more likely you are to qualify financially. A single parent with one disabled child cannot earn more than approximately $36,000 per year to qualify. Again, larger families will have higher income limits.

    Medically Qualifying with Malignant Melanoma
    The SSA keeps a listing of impairments, called the Blue Book. The Blue Book is a medical guide with the symptoms or test results needed for an applicant to medically qualify for disability benefits. Childhood malignant melanoma can be found under section 113.29. The listing includes all three types of melanoma: cutaneous (skin), ocular (eyes), and mucosal (mucus).

    You must equal or meet one of the following conditions:
    1. Your melanoma is recurrent after either widespread skin or eye melanoma was surgically removed.
    2. Spreading of the cancer to any lymph nodes (small organs throughout the body that filter and clean blood) that can be easily found by imaging tests or clinical examinations, to at least four lymph nodes that aren’t easily identified, or to other organs.
    3. You have mucus melanoma.

    Malignant melanoma is on the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances List (CAL). The CAL is a list of severe diseases that always medically qualify for disability benefits, so the SSA speeds up the process for approval. Your claim can be approved and your child can start receiving benefits within a few weeks.

    Applying for SSI with Malignant Melanoma
    Before starting the application, make sure to check out the SSA’s Child Disability Starter Kit for an idea of required documents and other material needed prior to applying. You can start the application for your child online, but must make an appointment with your local SSA office to finish the process. The SSA has an office locator for applicants who do not know where their closest office is.

    You need to include all of the necessary medical evidence to prove that your child meets or equals one of the listings. This may include a biopsy of the tumor, imaging results, lab reports, descriptions and outcomes of treatments and surgeries, and explanations of hospitalizations. For more information visit: http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/

  • The National Institute of Health launched an online tool designed to help people distinguish moles from melanoma. The resource entitled, Moles to Melanoma: Recognizing the ABCDE Features, is intended to help educate the public about the appearance and features of common moles, atypical moles and melanoma.

    The clinical photographs come from the National Cancer Institute’s Familial Melanoma Study. There are photographs of 29 different pigmented skin lesions collected from study participants over a forty-year period. Patient photos are shown over time, including illustrations of small moles that develop into melanoma. Dr. Margaret Tucker, the study chair and developer of the online tutorial, said that this tool would help people to distinguish normal changes in pigmented lesions from malignant changes requiring medical attention.

    This is something for health professionals, patients, and the general public to use and learn about the clinical course of melanoma. Please check out https://www.cancer.gov/news-events/cancer-currents-blog/2016/moles-to-melanoma

  • Children’s Melanoma Prevention Foundation (CMPF) applauds Governor Baker for signing a bill into law that bans indoor tanning for minors. This legislation is critically important because of the connection between tanning devices, melanoma and death in young women. Melanoma is now the most common cancer in young adults and the fourth most common cancer in children. A recent JAMA study showed that 97% of women diagnosed with melanoma before age 30 reported indoor tanning prior to being diagnosed.

    As the only national foundation focused on preventing skin cancer in children, CMPF has strongly advocated in favor of an indoor tanning ban for minors and played an integral role in support of the bill’s passage. We are so pleased that this ban will ensure that high school students can no longer indoor tan—especially during prom season, when even the most health savvy teen forgets it is not safe. We would like to recognize Senator James Timilty (D-Walpole) for introducing the bill and working so hard to protect children. With skin cancer rates skyrocketing and one person dying every 45 minutes from the disease, we must protect children from unnecessary risks.

  •  

    Rahcel small

    Long before I was born, back when my parents were dating my mom noticed a strange mole on my dad’s back. He didn’t think it was a big deal but she was quickly concerned and told him to get it checked out. Sure enough, it turned out to be a bad case of melanoma. He had to have surgery to remove it and it left him with a huge thick scar. It runs down most of his back to the right of his spine.

    I am reminded of this story constantly during the summer, and it honestly scares me every time that I think about it. I know that because I have a strong family history for melanoma, which all of my grandparents have had by now as well, I am at risk for getting it too. However, the fact that my parents have always been on my back about protecting myself against the harmful sun rays gives me hope that I will be okay. My Dad's scar is a good reminder to be cautious.

    Being a redhead, I am constantly reminded that my pale skin is very susceptible to sun damage. Starting in the Spring, my parents always tell me as I’m about to go outside, “Remember your sunscreen!” Going to the beach or pool, I hear, “You better be wearing a swim shirt and a hat!” Through my involvement in the Children’s Melanoma Prevention Foundation, I am now able to better understand the real dangers of melanoma and how it may be prevented. I have learned that sunscreen, hats, and swim shirts may be a pain, but they really are useful in preventing painful sunburns and lowering the risk of melanoma and other skin cancers. I have also learned the importance of checking my skin for changes.

    I am so thankful that my mom was able to catch my dad’s cancerous mole before he got sick. Thank you, Dad for being an amazing father and role model. Happy Father’s Day!

  • Park Rec UV

    When I was in sixth grade at Central Middle School in Quincy, MA, Maryellen Maguire Eisen and the Children’s Melanoma Prevention Foundation came to Mrs. Ahearn’s science class and presented about sun exposure awareness. I listened attentively and answered questions, as I always did in classes and assemblies; however, it wasn’t until I got to see my reflection under a black-light that I really understood what was being said. My face lit up in an electric blue, which worried me. I knew I had freckles and got sunburns, but it wasn’t until seeing the sun damage strewn across my 11 year-old face that I was closer to really getting it.
    Today, July 21, 2015, Maryellen and I visited a Scituate kids’ day camp, where she gave a similar presentation to the kids. These second through sixth graders were gathered at cafeteria tables, listening as the presentation began. As Maryellen bounded into science and math questions pertaining to the topics of sunburns, UV rays, peak exposure times, and understanding SPF, the kids got more and more excited about the topic. I was amazed to hear kids as young as eight answering questions about earth’s planetary position and how this affects UV indices throughout the year. Every student who correctly answered a question was tossed one of our SunAWARE UV bead bracelets, which change from white to rainbow colored when exposed to sunlight (at the end, all of the kids received a bracelet). When a few counselors followed Maryellen outside to get their UV photos taken, the kids raced to the windows, climbing onto the counters to see their “magic” bracelets transform. The others went outside with the counselors, all grouping together on their tiptoes to get a good view of their camp leaders’ photos. One young woman joked about how her dermatologist said she needs to wear a wetsuit when at the beach, which was understandable considering her strawberry blonde hair and freckled face. These high school to college aged kids saw a similar kind of image that 11 year-old me saw: highlighted areas in which they have the most freckles. Even these older audience members reacted to the images and presentation, and seemed compelled to interact in answering questions along with their much younger campers.
    After seeing the UV photos, everyone reconvened inside to conclude the presentation. All of the kids with July birthdays were called up and given their very own sun protective equipment, including wide brimmed hats and sunglasses. With a few closing questions and answers, the presentation was over and all of the kids got out their lunches. I went around the tables, handing out stickers adorned with our very own mascot, Norbert the dog, telling the kids how cool he looks with his UV protective shades. Although the students were most enthused about their tangible treasures (bracelets, stickers, pencils, etc.), I was most excited to know how much knowledge they had both gained and shared.
    For those of us who loved school as little kids, do you remember the feeling of shooting your hand up before the question was even complete, holding it up indefinitely just dying to be called on? You felt like it was entirely detached from your shoulder as you enthusiastically waved it around, leaning your body on the table and even propping the limb up with your other arm, begging to be called on. Watching these kids get excited to answer questions about sun awareness reminded me of those times in school, and the way it felt to be on the other side of this foundation. To them, this presentation was a fun and educational pre-lunch hour, during which they jumped up and down to answer questions and received some unexpected gifts. To me, their enthusiasm is indicative of the progress we are making toward our goal: to educate kids in a fun and interactive manner that embeds lasting knowledge. Preventing skin cancer one child at a time really is possible, with a good group of kids, an amazing presenter, and, of course, some enticing goodies.
    Alicia Walker
    Summer Intern

  • The sun protection clothing industry began in Australia over forty years ago when the Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria started working on finding fabric that would effectively block out the sun. They borrowed the concept of the surfer’s “rash shirt” (worn to protect against skin burns that result form lying on the surfboard) and began marketing the first sun protective swim shirts. The shirt was followed by “neck-to-knee” swimsuits, which look very similar to wet suits.    Alas a billion dollar industry was born. However, there were no industry standards to evaluate the quality of sun protective garments.

    Again Australia took the lead, when in 1992 the Australian Radiation Laboratory, developed regulatory standards for garments claiming to be sun protective. Garments were now rated according to UPF or Ultraviolet Protection Factor, a rating system similar to SPF. UPF ratings provide the consumer with information regarding the degree of protection provided by a fabric against both the tanning and burning rays. UPF is a similar concept to SPF (Sun Protection Factor). If a fabric is rated UPF 30, then it is absorbing or blocking 29 out of 30 units of UVR, or 97%.

    In 1998, the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorist (AATCC) adapted the Australian UPF standard for use in the United States. Later, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) developed standard for simulating a sun protective garment’s life cycle and for labeling a garment claiming to be sun protective. Now, in the United States several million garments are tested each year using the AATCC and ASTM standards.

    Once these standards were introduced, scientists began creating better fabrics to protect the skin. Some of the most innovative fabrics include ZnO SunTect® which has zinc oxide embedded into every fiber of the garment to safely deflect UV rays. Another is fabric made with all natural, cotton bamboo fiber that is both soft and durable while still providing UPF ratings of 50+. Chlorine and water resistant fabrics are made for swimwear with high UPF ratings. Ultra thin polyester microfiber, which is flexible and completely breathable, is used for sun protective gloves, hats and face guards.          

    Good sun protective clothing is carefully designed for comfort and maximum protection. In addition, the cost of buying sun protective clothing is ultimately far less expensive than buying sunscreen over time. One sun protective shirt can last many seasons and maintains its UPF rating after thousands of washings. This specialized clothing can be found at local retailers or specialty shops. Steep discounts are often found online in the winter.

    Dermatologists and other skin specialists highly recommend the use of sun protective garments because they provide the fastest and most effective method of sun protection. These garments are more effective than sunscreen because the degree of protection is constant and it is not impacted by human error including improper application, lack of reapplication, outdated product, etc. Health care providers also recommend slathering a water-resistant, SPF 50 sunscreen on all unprotected skin at least every 2 hours.

    We must always remember that skin cancer prevention requires a multi-pronged approach and vigilance. Be safe, Be SunAWARE!

    Maryellen Maguire-Eisen RN, MSN

  • UV IndexWe just learned about something called, the UV Index! UV stands for ultraviolet. The UV Index is a scale that tells you how strong the UV rays will be for a day, so you know how much sun protection you will need and what to wear. It is based on a scale of 1 – 11+. Most people think that the UV is high when the temperature is high. That is true but kids need to know that UV can be just as high in April when it is fifty degrees as in August when it is 100 degrees. The only way you can really know how strong the UV intensity is would be by using a UV meter or checking the UV Index. An index of 11 is considered “extreme” and it doesn’t matter what the temperature is. It just means that you have a really high chance of getting a sunburn. An index of 1 would be a very, very low chance of getting as sunburn. By knowing the UV index for the day, you know how much protection you will need; like what to wear and how much sunscreen you will need. The UV Index will be different depending on where you live in the world. So if you want to know what the UV Index will be for where YOU live, you can find it in lots of places. An easy way is to search online. A good website is The UV Awareness Website. It’s pretty cool- you just need to type in your zip code. You can also hear it on TV or the radio in the weather report. You can also find it in your newspaper.
    Hayden and I came up with our own UV index...here it is:
    EXPOSURE                                           INDEX NUMBER                                                               SUN PROTECTION MESSAGE
    Low                                                                           1-2                                                                               Grab hat and you are ready to go
    Moderate                                                               3-5                                                                               It’s hot
    High                                                                          6-7                                                                                Let’s find a pool
    Very                                                                          8-10                                                                             Sizzling: I’m feeling like bacon
    Extreme                                                                 11+                                                                               STAY INSIDE AND PLAY A GAME!!

  • I know that I shouldn’t be writing about these things because this is a blog about staying Sun Safe! Since my parents tell me I shouldn’t lie, I have to be honest... I dislike sunscreen, actually, I hate it! It’s not because I want to be tan – I don’t! It’s the feeling that sunscreen brings! To me, I always want it off of me because it feels very weird, sticky, greasy, but I know that is protects me!
    Ok, so the truth is out, you now know I hate sunscreen! So what? Who cares that some random 11 year-old hates sunscreen? But I know a lot of you out there probably hate it too! So... what are our other choices? I know my mom won’t let me out in the sun without some kind of protection! So... my choices are:
    1.) Wrap trash bags around my whole body and then go outside and play
    2.) Only play outside at midnight!
    3.) Play outside only on rainy days when the sun isn’t out!
    I know those aren’t realistic choices, so seriously, what are some other options?
    One really good option is sun-protective clothing! Sun-protective clothing is, well... clothing! Some are specially made to protect you from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays! And some can be plain old regular clothes from your closet! Depending on the fabric your clothing is made of gives you a higher/lower chance of getting sunburned! This is measured by something called UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) – which measures the amount of UV radiation that gets through the fabric and reaches your skin. Some are better than others! Which ones are the best? Here’s a simple explanation from the Skin Cancer Foundation: http://www.skincancer.org “The easiest way to test if a fabric can protect your skin is to hold it up to the light. If you can see through it, then UV radiation can penetrate it - and your skin.”

    Clark Twins 1

  • katie at hatherly 3How Parents Can Advocate for Sun Protection in Schools 

    Spring is just around the corner and now is the time to decide that you will advocate for sun protection policies at your child’s school. Research, make a plan, talk with administrators so you will be ready to protect students once the UV Index starts to rise in March. Here are some suggestions as to what you can do at a local, state, and national level to protect children from the most common cancer in our society.

  • As a teenager, I get it; acne is a PAIN. Not only does the irritated skin actually ache, it’s also unappealing to the eye and touch. It destroys your Acne Blog Post self-confidence, and while makeup can conceal some pimples, it can never entirely mask the discoloration and uneven skin texture caused by acne.
    As a result, many teenagers use over-the-counter and/or prescription medication to help alleviate the physical pain and emotional anxiety caused by acne. In severe cases, UV exposure in the form of indoor tanning is prescribed by doctors to relieve acne, and other skin problems like psoriasis and eczema. However, this prompts many teens to wrongly believe that self-medicating with tanning salon sessions will have a similar curing effect.
    While it won’t eliminate acne permanently, the UV exposure will temporarily tighten pores which, for maybe a day, will appear to decrease the number of pimples. They then return worse than before as the skin has been irritated. Further, the skin cells have been zapped with UVR which may trigger the response that leads to skin cancer.
    Another problem for those who have acne is that many of the aforementioned medications cause sun sensitivity, which means skin is more susceptible to sunburn and UV damage. Some of the worst offenders according to www.about.com are:

    * benzoyl peroxide, BenzaClin, Benzamycin
    * Accutane (isotretinoin)
    * Products containing alpha hydroxy acids (glycolic acid, lactic acid, etc.)
    * Antibiotics like doxycyline, metronidazole, erythromycin and Bactrim
    * Retinoids like Retin-A, Differin, Tazorac, Ziana

    Certain treatment procedures for severe cases of acne, including microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and some laser treatments, can also increase sun sensitivity.

    Acne can be a difficult condition to clear, but increasing your risk of skin cancer in the process is not the answer. Protecting your skin from the sun's rays is always important, but it becomes even more so when your acne treatment(s) cause(s) photosensitivity. Be SunAWARE to fit your life: wear a cute wide-brimmed hat, make conscientious choices like including SPF makeup in your daily routine, and apply great smelling broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30 every day (choose a brand that is labeled oil-free and noncomdogenic or non-acnegenic, so it won't trigger more breakouts). Apply your medications first, and wait for 20 minutes or so to allow the treatment to dry completely; you can then apply your sunscreen over the top. Being healthy doesn’t have to be a hassle, nor must it impede progress in your efforts to clear your skin. Being SunAWARE is a lifestyle, so embrace skincare in all aspects.

  • The Friday before Memorial Day annually has been designated as Don’t Fry Day (DFD) by the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention (NCSCP). This day was chosen because Memorial Day is the unofficial kick-off of summer. It is a program that encourages sun smaura proclamationafety and reminds everyone to protect their skin while they enjoy the outdoors. As one of 41 member organizations of NCSCP, the Children’s Melanoma Prevention Foundation participates annually in activities aimed at promoting sun safety awareness through the Don’t Fry Day message. We encourage school projects and embark on a social media blitz to disseminate the DFD message.

    This year, as part of our advocacy efforts we decided to approach the Massachusetts State Legislature. Because it was too late in the legislative cycle to propose a bill, we chose to request an official proclamation that would be issued by the Governor.

    As someone who is deeply involved with policy and government affairs I have a very good relationship with my State Senator and Representative. I called the offices of both State Senator Jamie Eldridge and State Representative Kate Hogan and spoke with their staff about my request. I want to stress here that one of the most important things to remember is that legislative staff are key players. They are knowledgeable and in some ways, it is more important to make a connection with them than the members themselves. I always advise those who are new to advocacy to form those relationships and not to be disappointed that they “only” get to meet with or speak to staff. They are the worker bees who get stuff done.

    DFD kids1After speaking with staff, the next step was to send the request in writing. This does not have to be a formal letter; email is generally the best way to communicate with any government official.
    When writing to your legislator, it is always advisable to begin by thanking them for their previous support. If you have never brought any issues before them you can look up their voting record, find an issue they voted for that is important to you, and thank them for their vote.

    In this case both Senator Eldridge and Representative Hogan had supported the Massachusetts under 18 tanning ban bill , so of course I referred to that as a perfect segue. Representative Hogan is the House Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Health and we testified on behalf of the bill before her committee. She was very supportive and instrumental in moving the bill forward.

    Included in my email was background information on the Don’t Fry Day initiative and documents about the importance of skin cancer prevention along with my request. The staff took it from there. They contacted the Governor’s Constituent Services Aide who requested that I draft the language for the proclamation and send it to her directly. The Governor’s website has instructions and gives examples to aid in drafting this document: http://www.mass.gov/governor/constituent-services/recognition/#proclamation

    After drafting the language and submitting it, I followed up with the Governor’s office to be certain that the proclamation had been accepted. I spoke with the staffer who had been my contact and she told me that the proclamation would be ready in a few days. I could choose to pick it up, have it mailed, or receive an electronic copy. Taking no chances, I chose to pick it up in person and it now hangs in the CMPF headquarters.

    This year I have asked these legislators to introduce a petition making this an official event yearly. It is unlikely that any bill passes the first year it is introduced. So, while the bill is pending we will continue to seek a proclamation each year. It is our hope that Don’t Fry Day will be added to the official Massachusetts calendar in the near future.

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  • A recent survey of tanning salon operators within the state of Missouri revealed that 65 percent of personnel would allow pre-teens to use their facilities. The findings, originally published in the Journal of Pediatrics (2012), indicated that Missouri was one of 17 states openly permitting youngsters to use tanning beds without a minimum age restriction. How young is too young to indoor tan?

    When Patricia Krencil, a mom in New Jersey, was accused of taking her six-year-old daughter to a tanning salon people were aghast. I wonder why, we don’t feel the same shock and horror when teenage girls are indoor tanning for prom? Why do parents give consent for teenagers to indoor tan? Don’t they know that exposure to ultraviolet radiation in tanning beds increases their child’s risk of developing the two deadly forms of skin cancer. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently reported that 6,200 cases of melanoma are caused each year by indoor tanning.

    There are now twelve states with under age eighteen tanning bans in America. I believe that legislation is an important part to protecting children from skin cancer. However, I believe that skin cancer can best be prevented with education, and the earlier the better. Efforts are underway by organizations like ours to reach into the classroom with on-going lessons about prevention and early detection. We developed Glenna’s Gift, a video that shares one young women’s struggle with a tanning addiction and melanoma diagnosis, to educate teenagers about the real impact of this disease. We have been fortunate to gain access to school children with our SunAWARE K-12 Curriculum. However, I realize that it will only be when government makes health education in the schools a priority, like obesity and bullying, that all children will learn the important facts about indoor tanning and skin cancer.

    I agree with the Society for Public Health Education that health education must become a core subject in our schools. Without this educational priority, health education will continue to be marginalized by schools and eliminated in budgets. Please support the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization vehicle, known as the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA). This bill is in final stages and will be going to a vote by the Senate soon. ACT TODAY: Contact Your Senator to Request "Health" be Included as a Core subject in ECAA.

  • As I reflect on my summer internship with the Children’s Melanoma Prevention Foundation, I know MNN 1I will embark on my journey as a health educator and future nurse with a new and evolving tool kit. Below, I have listed just a few tips I learned throughout the summer. I have gained valuable experience during the twelve weeks I spent connecting with healthcare professionals, educating members of the community on sun safety, and representing CMPF.
    1. Always lead by example.
    I struggle to always live a SunAWARE life. I enjoy the warmth of the sun beating on my shoulders. Because of this, I don’t always appreciate and welcome the shade. While educating individuals about proper sun protection, I tell them to seek shade. Exhibiting and educating outdoors without shade, sends the wrong message. I am becoming more aware of caring for my own skin while teaching individuals how to protect their skin.
    2. Wear many hats. Be prepared to adapt when necessary.
    I recall the first presentation I did on my own. I was prepared for very small groups (2-3 people at a time) to come up to me to learn about proper sunscreen application and sun safety. When I arrived, I found out that I was going to be doing a presentation in front of 20 lifeguard and park staff. I was not prepared and very nervous. After providing the staff with a bumpy sun safety training, I left learning a valuable lesson. Always be prepared for anything and have a backup plan. I spent the rest of my internship building my confidence as an educator by preparing for presentations and creating back up activities.
    3. Always have fun.
    I enjoyed interacting with members of the community while working with the SunAWARE education team. By using the UV camera system and making the events interctive, individuals were engaged and had fun learning about proper sun safety tips.
    4. Remember, wearing sunscreen doesn’t have to stink.
    Growing up, I would often opt out of wearing sunscreen if I wasn’t outside for a long period of time because I hated the smell. While exhibiting with CMPF, much to my surprise, I found a sunscreen that actually smells great! Now I apply sunscreen every day. It is important to find a sunscreen that you enjoy wearing.
    5. Education is the key to prevention.
    Through my summer internship, with the guidance of CMPF staff, I taught individuals at farmers’ markets, schools, pools, and beaches. While I provided them with information on how to prevent sun damage and skin cancer, the prevention continues when they educate those they love about what they learned at CMPF events.

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  • Hello! I am Kelly Murphy, the summer intern with CMPF. I am currently studying Public Health at Central Michigan  KellyUniversity in Mount Pleasant, MI. Upon graduation from CMU in August, I will be studying nursing. I am eager to broaden my knowledge of public health with CMPF this summer.
    The cultural diversity and experiences I have gained during my first two weeks at CMPF are invaluable. On my second day, I was given the wonderful opportunity to represent CMPF at an after school health fair in Quincy. I have to admit that I was nervous going into this assignment. Many of the parents spoke English as a second language. Despite the language barrier, I was still able to get the message out about the importance of being Sun AWARE. This experience has been my most memorable thus far.
    I have connected with many individuals and gained new insight into the relationship between public health and nursing. In addition to assisting with school programs, I have attended a public hearing for amendments to the anti-tanning law and the North Shore Community Health Network Meeting. I have gained new understanding of the direct and indirect action of nonprofit organizations and foundations. I am looking forward to growing as a public health educator and future nurse during my summer with CMPF.

  • 1. UV intensity peaks mid-day and on the Summer Solstice (June 21st in the Northern Hemisphere). Therefore it is easier, on average, to sunburn in May CMPF 8511 r6F 1than August.
    ➢ This is important because the UV Index is a measure of sun damage risk. To lean more download a free UV app (EPA, UVUS) on your smartphone.
    2. Sunscreen is an over–the-counter medication with a dose and frequency of application. To use this medication properly: apply a handful of BROAD SPECTRUM product to cover the entire body, 15 minutes prior to sun exposure, and reapply every 2 hours or more often if perspiring or exposed to water.
    ➢ This is important to know because if you apply 1/3 of the sunscreen dose then you get 1/3 of the protection. Most sunburns in sunscreen users are due to inadequate dosing and failure to reapply.
    3. In 2010, the Institute of Medicine reissued their dietary reference for vitamin D, recommending that we obtain the required dose from food and oral supplements not sun exposure.
    ➢ This is important because only the most damaging, midday, burning (UVB) rays, are capable of metabolizing vitamin D in the skin.
    4. Sun protection clothing is superior to sunscreen in providing UV protection.
    ➢ This is important because the UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) in specialized clothing, unlike sunscreen, never loses its UV protection.
    5. A tan is a compensatory protective mechanism and a sign of sun damage.
    ➢ This is important to know because a tan develops following overexposure to UV radiation when our melanocytes (pigment producing cells) release additional melanin to protect us from further damage.
    6. We are not born with freckles but rather a genetic predisposition to develop them.
    ➢ This is important because freckles develop at sites of overexposure and are a sign of sun damage and skin cancer risk.
    7. Moles come in different types and impart different risks for skin cancer.
    ➢ This is important because a congenital mole (present at birth), or typical (small, round, symmetrical, even color) and atypical (larger than an eraser head, irregular in shape or color) have varying degrees of malignant potential.
    8. 1/3 of melanomas in men develop on their back.
    ➢ This is important because men need to “Watch their Back” or have someone else look for new or changing growths.
    9. Melanoma has increased in children by 2% per year for the past thirty years and 72% of melanoma cases in children occur in teenage girls between 15 to 19 years old.
    ➢ This is important because American girls are exposing themselves to UV rays (natural and artificial sources) starting at a very young age to achieve a tan.
    10. Most people do not realize that the Surgeon General issued a Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer in 2014.
    ➢ This is important because the Surgeon General has called on all Americans to learn about UV radiation and protect themselves from overexposure.

  • Hello!Norbert

    It's me, Norbert. I thought it would be fun to share some news about what I've been up to lately. The Norberthood has been a busy place!

    I recently moved all the way across the country to sunny Los Angeles. I'm having fun, and being safe, in the sun. Last month I earned my renewal as a registered therapy dog and continue to volunteer to spread smiles & inspire kindness. I was recently featured in a Paper Magazine article and next month I am honored to be the cover dog for Animal Wellness Magazine.

    A project I am excited about is the development of my Norbert Plush Toy which will be available this summer -- a life-size, soft, huggable plush that I hope will make people smile. More info is here: bit.ly/norplush

    Thanks for checking in with me.

    High-Five!
    Norbie

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