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Health Benefit Plan- “Skin Protection”

Hello again,
looks like the warm weather is finally here. Whether enjoying the leisure of
lying on the beach (VACATION) with the family or working diligently
delivering your route, we should be mindful of time spent out in the sunlight.
Always take the proper steps to be healthy in the sun.

The Best Defense is Sunscreen, take a minute and read this article and better understand how you can protect your skin.

-Jay Nichols, HBP Rep. Keystone Branch 157.

Jay Nichols

Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, and melanoma is the most
serious of skin cancers. Like most cancers, the exact cause is not known.
But, exposure to ultraviolet radiation is a strong risk factor.
We are most exposed to ultraviolet radiation through the sun. UV radiation,
also comes from artificial sources, like sun lamps or tanning booths
Avoiding the artificial sources is easy, but decreasing exposure to the sun’s
radiation takes a bit more work. Many medical organizations, including the
American Cancer Society, recommend wearing protective clothing, a hat, and
sunscreen when you will be in strong sunlight. While we know sunscreen is
effective at blocking UV radiation and decreasing the risk of sunburns, there
have been no studies that show if sunscreen can actually decrease risk of
melanoma.
Researchers from Australia examined the association between sunscreen use
and risk of melanoma. The study, published in the Journal of Clinical
Oncology, found that sunscreen use was, in fact, associated with a decrease in
the risk of melanoma.

About the study
The randomized trial included 1,621 adults in Australia, aged 25-75 years.
The participants were divided into one of four different treatment groups over
over four and a half years.
• Daily SPF16 sunscreen application to head, neck, arms, and hands plus
beta-carotene 30 mg daily
• Sunscreen choice and application done at participants discretion plus
beta-carotene
• Daily sunscreen application plus placebo
• Sunscreen choice and application done at participants discretion plus
placebo
The participants were then sent follow-up surveys 10 years after the trial was
completed. During this extension period, no sunscreen was provided for any
participants. However, some of the patients continued to use daily sunscreen
By the end of the full trial (14.5 years ), researchers found:
• Primary melanoma developed in 1.3% of participants originally
assigned to daily sunscreen compared to 2.7 % of participants originally
assigned to discretionary sunscreen.
• This means that for every 72 participants told to use sunscreen daily 1
participant avoided getting melanoma.

How Does This Affect You?
Randomized trials are generally considered a very reliable form for studies.
This study was a 10-year follow up of a randomized trial. Since it was not
part of the original trial, there may be some reliability problems with the
outcomes of this trial. However, since it is clear that sunscreen can block UV
radiation and decrease painful sunburns, its likely that daily sunscreen use
may also decrease the development of melanoma. There is also very little
risk with sunscreen use for most people.

Resources
American Academy of Dermatology http://www.aad.org/
American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org/

References
Green AC, Williams GM, Logan V, Strutton GM. Reduced melanoma after
regular sunscreen use: randomized trial follow-up.
J Clin Oncol. 201129(3):257-263

What Can You Do?
Talk to your doctor about your risk factors for melanoma.
Take steps to be healthy in the sun.
Avoid sunburns by wearing protective clothing or sunscreen with SPF 15 or
higher if you plan to be in the sun for extended periods of time, especially
between 10 am and 4 pm.
Do not increase our UV radiation exposure through artificial sources, like
tanning beds.
Finally, learn about the signs of melanoma and contact your doctor if you
find any suspicious moles.
What To Look For?
There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous
cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Because each has many different
appearances, it is important to know the early warning signs. Look especially
for change of any kind. Do not ignore a suspicious spot simply because it
does not hurt. Skin cancers may be painless, but dangerous all the same. If
you notice one or more of the warning signs, see a doctor right away,
preferably one who specializes in diseases of the skin.
• A skin growth that increases in size and appears pearly, translucent, tan,
brown, black, or multicolored
• A mole, birthmark, beauty mark, or any brown spot that:
changes color
increases in size or thickness
changes in texture
is irregular in outline
is bigger than 6mm or 1/4”, the size of a pencil eraser
appears after age 21
• A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab, erode, or bleed
• An open sore that does not heal within three weeks

If You Spot It…
Don’t overlook it. Don’t delay. See a physician, preferably one who
specializes in diseases of the skin, if you note any change in an existing mole,
freckle, or spot or if you find a new one with any of the warning signs of skin
cancer.
Copyright © Skin Cancer Foundation www.skincancer.org