Olympic gold medalist Summer Sanders tells skin cancer to “take a hike” several years after being diagnosed with melanoma.
Over the past decade, people have gotten more serious about sun protection and for one very good reason — melanoma. From 1982 to 2011 rates of melanoma in the U.S. doubled, and the American Cancer Society estimates that there will be more than 90,000 new cases in 2018. While it isn’t the most common type of skin cancer, it is the most serious.
When Olympic Gold Medalist and TV Host Summer Sanders went in for a routine dermatologist appointment, the last thing she expected was to get a call the following day. “The first thing that the person said on the other end of the phone was that, ‘You have a severely atypical malignant melanoma,’” she reveals to Yahoo Lifestyle. I think the only word I sort of knew was ‘malignant,’ and I knew it wasn’t good.” Growing up in California, Sanders lived out every child's fantasy - having unlimited access to a backyard swimming pool. But unlike most kids her age, she was never one to spend hours in the sun tanning. Instead, she was swimming laps up to two and a half hours, twice a day, training for what was soon to be her triumphant Olympic career. “I wore sunscreen on every vacation, but what I didn’t do is I did not associate sunscreen with training,” Sanders says. “I was always naturally really tan, so I felt like if I had a tan, that’s sort of like my built in sunscreen. What an idiot I was to think that was not sun damage,” she admits. Sanders wizened up at age 40 when her husband pointed out a new mole on the back of her calf, something – she points out - shouldn't happen with the over-forty crowd. The suspicious black spot turned out to be melanoma, which led to doctors excising an ice cream scoop-sized chunk out of her calf. “It’s very frightening when you learn about melanoma,” Sanders adds. She recalls her doctors telling her they wouldn’t know for another five years whether or not she was going to die. She explains there are three types of skin cancer – basil, squamous and melanoma, melanoma being the most severe. “I call her the ‘mama’ because she’s the mama of skin cancer,” she says. “It’s the killer.” But she adds that the earlier you can detect it, the better your chances are for survival. Surprisingly, Sanders’s journey with melanoma didn’t end there. Her doctors diagnosed her with three more melanomas, and she underwent three more excisions to remove them. Having been in the public eye as a TV host and Olympic champion, Sanders uses her platform to raise awareness about the effects of skin cancer. She targets young athletes and kids, imploring them to increase their sun protection so they don’t experience a fate similar to hers. She partners with several organizations, including the Skin Cancer Foundation, in hopes that sharing her story won’t fall on deaf ears. “I have this saying that every year on your birthday, check yourself out in your birthday suit, and find the [moles] that catch your eye,” she advises. “Just make your damn appointment people.”
Researchers found that daily aspirin therapy nearly doubled the risk of melanoma skin cancer in men. But that doesn't mean you should stop taking the pain killer.
Over the past decade, people have gotten more serious about sun protection and for one very good reason — melanoma. From 1982 to 2011 rates of melanoma in the U.S. doubled, and the American Cancer Society estimates that there will be more than 90,000 new cases in 2018. So what is melanoma? While it isn’t the most common type of skin cancer, it is the most serious. Melanoma develops from cells called melanocytes, which make the pigment that gives skin its color. These cells can also form moles, which are noncancerous growths of the skin. When melanocytes are damaged by exposure to UV light, mutations are triggered that turn the cell abnormal and cause it to multiply rapidly, forming cancerous tumors. Ultraviolet light exposure from the sun or tanning beds account for approximately 95 percent of melanoma cases. In addition to sun damage, there are other factors that could increase your chance of developing melanoma. Having a lot of moles puts you at a higher risk, and a family history can also play a part. About 10% of people who have melanoma have a family member with it too. Age is also a contributing factor. The average age for a melanoma diagnosis 63. Before age 50, the risk of developing melanoma is higher among women. After 50, men are at a greater risk. One common misconception is that melanoma and other skin cancers can occur only in people with fair skin. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Research shows that Caucasians have a 1 in 38 lifetime risk of getting melanoma. But they aren’t alone. Approximately 1 in 172 Hispanics and 1 in 1,000 African-Americans will also get melanoma during their lifetime. In other words, anyone can be affected, and everyone needs to monitor moles that look abnormal. “If you notice a mole that’s new or changing, that’s something to look out for,” said dermatologist Samer Jaber. “Another thing to look for is if a mole is different from other moles on the body; it’s called an ugly duckling.” In addition to checking for these signs, Jaber also suggests that his patients remember the ABCDE guide to evaluate their moles. A is for Asymmetry. If you cut a mole in half, it should be even on both sides. B for Border. You don’t want moles that have jagged edges. C for Color. You want moles that are even in color. You don’t want moles that are black, white, blue, or pink. D for Diameter. You want moles that are smaller than a pencil eraser in size. E for Evolving. If you have a mole that’s changing, itching, burning, or bleeding, you should have it evaluated by a board-certified dermatologist. “If it’s caught early, a simple surgery is all you need to do,” said Jaber. "If it’s caught later, you may need an additional surgery, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy.” The key to prevention is to check your moles early and often. Melanoma is typically found on the chest, back, legs, neck, and face, so moles in these areas should receive extra attention. Limiting your exposure to the sun is also crucial. If you head outside, try to find a spot in the shade, wear a hat, throw on some sunglasses, and be sure to apply sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher. If you want a tan, consider using a spray-tan product. Sure, you may not have that sun-kissed look you desire, but the peace of mind you’ll gain will feel even better.
When you check your skin for suspicious moles, you probably look at your arms, chest, stomach, back, and legs. But those aren't the only places melanoma can show up.
Tracy Callahan, a mom of two, has faced multiple bouts of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. She hopes to motivate others to be sun smart so they won't have to face what she's been through.
We have the knowledge and the sunscreen — so much sunscreen — to eradicate skin cancer. That’s what makes this fact especially disconcerting: Melanoma is on the rise.
Reality star Tamra Judge, 49, shares a selfie to show people what melanoma looks like and encourage them to get their skin checked.
David E. Fisher, MD, PhD, and his team at Massachusetts General Hospital set out to tan skin while combating the risk of cancers and aging that can result from sun exposure — and it looks as if they’re well on their way. As a follow-up to a study released in 2006, Fisher and his team just came out with findings of an ingredient that may be applied topically to darken the appearance of human skin in a way that mimics the natural tanning process. Yahoo Beauty spoke with Dr. Fisher about the reasons why these findings are so important.
While doctors recommend getting mole checks in fall and winter, now’s the best time to keep a close eye on any changes in your skin.
Cloe Jordan told CATERS News that she first started paying closer attention to a mole on her stomach after she developed a bikini selfie habit. Jordan says that she felt her mole was “getting in the way” when she took pictures.
According to a study published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, men and women between the ages of 18 and 29 — particularly those who have skin with a higher melanin content and who identify themselves as nonwhite — are at an increased risk for sunburn. To pinpoint predictors of sunburn, investigators recruited 437 Florida residents and asked them to complete a survey about their dermatologic history, as well as their knowledge, attitude, and behavioral factors associated with sun exposure. “Osteopathic medicine is largely focused on prevention, and melanoma, the skin cancer caused by sun exposure, is imminently preventable,” said lead researcher and osteopathic dermatologist Tracy Favreau in a press release.
A ban on the use of commercial tanning beds in New Zealand would greatly reduce skin cancer rates and have a minimal impact on the country’s economy, according to a new study. The findings are courtesy of the University of Otago and were published in the New Zealand Medical Journal. For the study, researchers conducted a national audit of businesses that provide tanning bed services and discovered that the ban would only have a small impact on a few businesses.
While it may seem obvious that sunscreen with a higher SPF would protect against skin cancer, the study’s lead author said past research produced conflicting results, in part because many sunscreen users don’t apply sunscreens properly.
A major scientific discovery reveals how melanoma — the most aggressive of all skin cancers — spreads to other vital organs, including the brain. The breakthrough may one day help researchers create a treatment that stops melanoma from spreading.
A new report calls into question the value of skin cancer screenings by clinicians, but some dermatologists and groups say they're important in early detection.
New research shows that gene variants found in people with red hair, fair skin, and freckles are linked to a higher number of genetic mutations in skin cancers.
Word of mouth can often lead to some of your best purchases, but a new study by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that sunscreen shouldn’t be one of them.
At just 18 years old, Freja Nicholson lost her life to melanoma — one of the most common cancers in young adults.
Lying out in the sun can be deadly. But many people can’t stop, despite the risks of melanoma, finds a new survey from the American Academy of Dermatology.
A new study has found that New Zealand has overtaken Australia in the unfortunate ranking of country with the highest rate of melanoma per capita.