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“A regular skin checkup can literally save your life.” Jennifer Krasnoff, MD

The latest research has a lot to teach us about regular screening and sun protection

Two recent studies of melanoma in the Bay Area and beyond underscore the importance of regular skin exams and multiple preventive measures such as sun protective clothing and proper use of sunscreen.

A Skin Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC) report sheds a surprisingly unhealthy light on Marin County. Usually considered one of the healthiest Bay Area communities, Marin is found to have a 43 percent higher incidence of melanoma as compared to the greater Bay Area. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer.

The CPIC study collected data from theCalifornia Cancer Registry and analyzed skin cancer cases in California between the January 1988 and December 2011. Researchers found that in Marin, melanoma is now more common than lung cancer, and the second most commonly diagnosed cancer after prostate cancer.  The melanoma death rate in Marin County is 18% higher than the statewide rate. The report also found a 200% spike in Marin’s melanoma rates since 2003, a number consistent with rapid increases in melanoma in non-Hispanic white populations in most parts of the world.

Marin’s fairly homogenous community shares risk factors such as fair skin and a history of intense sun exposure. Importantly, a high number of Marin residents also have access to skin cancer screening and education -- a sign that the spike in reported melanoma rates in this area may be the result of higher reporting.

Skin cancer screening is available and affordable.

Ask your health care provider to include a skin screening as part of your regular health care routine. If you notice any changes in moles or lesions on the skin, see a dermatologist as soon as possible.

Skin protection involves more than sunscreen

Another recent study highlights the importance of using a range of measures to protect against sun damage and disease.  Scientists at the University of Manchester and the Institute of Cancer Research, London studied the ways that the sun’s UV rays lead to melanoma and the extent to which sunscreen was able to prevent UV light from damaging healthy cells. The study found that UV light actually targets the very same genes in our body that are responsible from protecting us from the sun’s rays in the first place. In a word – too much sun exposure makes it impossible for our body to protect us from cancer causing rays.

Importantly, the study also determined that while sunscreen could reduce damage and possibly delay disease, it alone did not offer complete protection from the sun’s harmful rays.  Researchers underscored the importance of a combination of sun protective clothing, shade during the sun’s strongest hours and also sunscreen – properly applied.

Sun safe resources for you

 


 

 

 

Petaluma Office
165 Lynch Creek Way
Petaluma, CA 94954
 M-F, 8:00am-5:00pm
(707) 762-5531
Fax: (707) 762-5976

 

 

Hercules Office
500 Alfred Nobel Dr., Ste. 245
Hercules, CA 94547
M-F, 8:00am-5:00pm
Open Saturday for aesthetic services
 (510) 741-7418
Fax: (510) 741-7456

 

Billing office
510-741-7299
Fax: 510- 741-7493

 


At Dermatology Associates of the Bay Area, our board-certified dermatologists serve patients at our Petaluma and Hercules offices. We are committed to the highest standards, and we offer a full range of cosmetic, medical, and surgical dermatology procedures, as well as quality skin care products.

Dermatology Associates of the Bay Area
165 Lynch Creek Way | Petaluma, California 94954 | Phone: (707) 762-5531 | Fax: (707) 762-5976
500 Alfred Nobel Drive, Suite 245 | Hercules, California 94547 | Phone: (510) 741-7418 | Fax: (510) 741-7456