DR. SASHA CAVANAGH, M.D., PC Board Certified Dermatologist
DR. KRAMER IS OFFERING HER SERVICES pro bono to the THURSTON COUNTY PROJECT ACCESS Read about PROJECT ACCESS hereThurston County Project Access is a community-based, physician-led organization that provide short-term access to donated health care services for uninsured and underinsured people living in Thurston County, Washington. Started in 2004, the "Project Access" initiative has been successfully replicated in over 30 communities nationwide.
DR. KRAMER HAS BEEN ELECTED SECRETARY-TREASURER OF THE WASHINGTON STATE DERMATOLOGY ASSOCIATION. Read about the WSDA here
NEW TAN TAX SPOTLIGHTS CONNECTION BETWEEN TANNING BEDS AND MELANOMA
July 1, 2010 marks the beginning of a new 10 percent federal tax instituted on indoor tanning sessions across the country. Public health experts hope that the new tax will draw attention to the connection between the use of tanning beds and melanoma, the fastest growing cancer in the United States and worldwide.
The “tan tax” is a part of the federal health care legislation passed by Congress earlier this year and one of the first implementations of the new law. Sunless tanning products and services are exempt. The tax is expected to generate $2.7 billion over the next 10 years to help cover uninsured Americans.
“Few people understand that they are truly gambling with their lives when they step into a tanning bed, and we hope the tax will make people think twice,” said Tim Turnham, executive director of the Melanoma Research Foundation.“Just like cigarettes, we expect this tax to impact decision-making, especially among younger users”
The connection between indoor tanning and melanoma is backed by clear, evidence-based research. Data shows that using tanning beds before age 35 increases your risk of developing melanoma by 75 percent and occasionally using tanning beds can triple your chances. Last year, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer reclassified tanning devices as “carcinogenic to humans.”This decision was based on scientific evidence linking skin cancers and exposure to ultraviolet rays from natural or artificial sources such as tanning beds.
Despite the connection between tanning beds and melanoma, many people continue to tan. As a result, the incidence of people under 30 developing melanoma is increasing faster than any other demographic group, soaring by 50 percent in young women since 1980.
“I frequented tanning salons regularly because it helped me relax and I felt pretty with a tan,” said Kristi Setzer, a 28-year old woman who was diagnosed with melanoma in 2008.“I knew of the risks but didn’t accept I was exposing myself to something that could cause cancer. This tax should be a reality check for people because it absolutely can happen to you and it’s just not worth the risk.”
Nearly 69,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with the disease in 2010, resulting in one death every single hour. Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25- to 29-years-old and the second most common cancer in adolescents and young adults 15- to 29-years-old.
“We’re not against small businesses in our support of the tax, but people need to be fully aware of the health risks,” said Turnham. “If melanoma were easy to cure, we probably wouldn’t see this level of controversy. But this deadly disease can strike men and women of all ages, races and skin types and has few, if any, treatment options for most patients. The key takeaway is that indoor tanning heightens your risks of developing this deadly disease.”
NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE article concludes that REGULATION OF THE TANNING BED INDUSTRY “….MAY OFFER ONE OF THE MOST PROFOUND CANCER-PREVENTION OPPORTUNITIES OF OUR TIME.” Read the full article here
An estimated 1 million times per day, someone in the United States uses ultraviolet (UV) radiation for skin tanning. According to the indoor tanning industry, tanning beds are used by 30 million Americans, or about 10% of the U.S. population, each year (www.theita.com/indoor). These users include minors, who often have ready access to tanning beds. In response to considerable grassroots and political opposition to indoor tanning, in late March the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) convened an advisory panel to review the safety of the procedure. The FDA is expected to announce a decision soon on whether and how to reclassify tanning lamps and possibly to address minors' access to them. Read More here
VIRUS FOUND IN COMMON FORM OF SKIN CANCER
A virus discovered last year in a rare form of skin cancer has also been found in people with the second most common form of skin cancer among Americans Read More here
RISK FROM TANNING BEDS RAISED FROM “PROBABLE” TO “DEFINITE” CAUSE OF CANCER
The CBS Evening News (7/28, story 8, 2:15, Couric) reported that, according to a paper published online July 29 in The Lancet Oncology, tanning beds may "pose as big a risk as tobacco and asbestos." Medical correspondent Jon LaPook, MD, explained that the "international panel of cancer experts upgraded the warning on tanning beds from probably to definitely able to cause cancer." Read More here
MOLES AND MELANOMA: Genetic Links
New research has shown why people with the greatest number of moles are at increased risk of the most dangerous form of skin cancer. A UK study looked at more than 10,000 people, comparing those who have been diagnosed with melanoma to those who do not have the disease.Learn more here
USE OF MUSCLE RUBS For Pain Is Questionable, Review Finds
There is not enough evidence to support using gels and creams containing rubefacients for chronic and acute pain, according to a recent systematic review by Cochrane Researchers. Rubefacients cause irritation and reddening of the skin, due to increased blood flow. The review focused on formulations containing salicylates, which are widely prescribed or sold over the counter as topical treatments for sports injuries and muscle pain.Learn more here
ECZEMA AND VIRAL INFECTIONS
New research has shown why people with the greatest number of moles are at increased risk of the most dangerous form of skin cancer. A UK study looked at more than 10,000 people, comparing those who have been diagnosed with melanoma to those who do not have the disease. Read a summary of the results here: Learn more here
EVIDENCE THAT SUN DAMAGE CAN LEAD TO MORE CANCER TYPES
Actinic keratoses are sun-damaged rough patches or lesions on the skin — often pink and scaly — that doctors have long believed can turn into a form of skin cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma. Now researchers at Brown University, the Veterans Administration Medical Centers in Providence and Oklahoma City, and others have determined that actinic keratoses appear responsible for a larger spectrum of skin cancers than previously thought. Their research is highlighted in the current edition of Cancer. Read more here Learn more here
SUMMER SKIN CARE FOR KIDS
Keep your kids safe from the sun this summer. The risk of developing skin cancer will be substantially reduced for children who learn to “Block the sun, not the fun!” Developed by dermatologists from The Los Angeles Metropolitan Dermatological Society, Sun Safety for Kids is dedicated to reducing the incidence of skin cancer through teaching and promoting sun protection to children. Learn more here
A REASON FOR THE LINK BETWEEN SKIN RASH AND ASTHMA?
Many young children who get a severe skin rash develop asthma months or years later. Doctors call the progression from eczema, or atopic dermatitis, to breathing problems the atopic march. A study on mice at the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis has found a possible reason for this link. Read more here
FDA ACTION ON BOTULINUM TOXIN PRODUCTS
You may have heard that the Federal Drug Adminstration recently required the manufacturers of products using botulinum toxin (including Botox®) to add warning labels and a medication guide to their packaging. The American Academy of Dermatology president, dermatologist David M. Pariser, MD, FAAD, released the following statement on behalf of the Academy: “The health, safety and welfare of our patients being treated with botulinum toxin products are of paramount importance to dermatologists. While no serious side effects have been reported from the dermatologic use of botulinum toxin products, the FDA’s actions emphasize the importance of selecting a qualified physician to administer these products for medical and cosmetic uses. The added precautions required by the FDA will provide patients with information to make the best decisions for their personal health. It also will help physicians ensure that patient safety is preserved.” Read more here
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