Tag Archive for: cancer

Tanning-do I need a base tan?

Categories: BLOG, Dermatological Conditions, Health, Skin Cancer, Tips and Tricks - Tags: , , , , , , ,
Photo courtesy of npr.org

Photo courtesy of npr.org

Spring is one of the best aspects of Minnesota. We all emerge from our winter hibernation to enjoy the warmer temperatures and especially the rejuvenating sunshine. Unfortunately, sun and UV exposure come with risks. Many of my patients comment on their pale legs and skin unaccustomed to sunshine and cannot wait to get that first bit of tan.  Society has conditioned us to think that a tan is healthy, but, in fact, a tan is your skin’s way of trying to protect itself from the harmful effects of UV exposure.

Ultraviolet light is part of the energy emitted from the sun. It is imperative for life on Earth, but can also cause harmful damage when the energy disrupts the normal cells of the body. There are two types of ultraviolet light present in sunlight: UVA and UVB. These cause different effects in the skin because they penetrate to different depths of the skin. UVA rays penetrate to the deeper layers of the skin and play a major role in tanning, photoaging (wrinkles, sun spots, broken blood vessels, laxity), and skin cancers. UVB rays can only go into the more superficial layers of the skin. These rays are the main contributor to sun burns and skin cancers, and they also play a role in suntans and photoaging.

UVA rays are the principal player in the tanning process. The skin tans as a way to try to protect us from further sun damage. Think of a tan as your skin putting up little umbrellas to try to keep out more sun rays. This is a highly imperfect system as we can still get lots of sun damage through this tan.

Tanning beds use a concentrated form of UVA that gives you up to 12 times the amount you would get from outdoor sun exposure. This is an efficient way to give you a tan, but also drastically increases damage to the skin and skin cancers. Remember, a tan is your body’s signal that it is being damaged so by the time you tan, a significant amount of harm has already occurred.

Photo courtesy of skincancer.rog

Photo courtesy of skincancer.rog

Because of this concentrated exposure, people who use indoor tanning devices are at an especially increased risk of skin cancers. According to the National Skin Cancer Foundation, people who use tanning beds are 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma. The younger you are at first use, the higher the risk. Young people who use a tanning bed are at a whopping 75% increased risk of getting melanoma.

Tanning does not protect you the way many people think. Getting a base tan from tanning beds before going on spring break does not help to reduce your risk of sun damage, burns or skin cancers from the sun. In fact, even going tanning a few times a year before spring break, prom or homecoming significantly increases your risk. Going just four times per year during high school/college results in a 15% increased risk of BCC, 15% increased risk of SCC, and an 11% increased risk of melanoma.

photo courtesy of spraytanningtips.com

photo courtesy of spraytanningtips.com

Skin cancer is easily treated when caught early, but can result in significant scarring and disfigurement. Protection and prevention should be a part of your daily routine. Sunscreens with a broad spectrum protection and an SPF of 30 or higher as well as special sun protective clothing are important to limit the amount of UV exposure our skin gets. Especially avoid tanning beds. If you simply must do something with those pale winter legs, opt for a spray tan or self-tanner lotions.

Summer Sun Protection

Categories: BLOG, Dermatological Conditions, Health, Skin Cancer, Tips and Tricks - Tags: , , , , , , , ,

fox9-new-melanoma-increase-dr-tareen-skin-cancerMemorial Day is right around the corner – that means BBQs, swimming and days on the lake will be here before we know it!  There’s no need to compromise your fun or limit outdoor activities, as long as you know how to safely protect your skin while enjoying the Minnesota summer!

The way we look at it, there are two strategies for sun protection (we recommend combining both!)  The first is true sun avoidance; this is wearing a wide-brimmed hat to shade your face and neck, wearing sun protective clothing (more on this below!) and pulling the big umbrella over to cover your picnic table. The second strategy for sun protection is sunscreen.  There are endless options available, so it’s important to know what you should be looking for when buying a sunscreen!

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a sunscreen that is labeled ‘Broad-spectrum’

Tareen Dermatology SilkShade Tinted Sunscreen Dermatology Roseville Twin Cities Minnesota Zinc

SilkShade Broad Spectrum Tinted Sunscreen with SPF 30 is a great natural source of topical Zinc.

(meaning that it protects against both UVA and UVB rays – both of which can lead to skin cancer AND the features of aging skin.)  You should choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher and labeled as ‘Water Resistant.’  One interesting sunscreen tidbit is that you’ll no longer see ‘waterproof’ on sunscreens – no sunscreen is 100% waterproof and finally the labeling has caught up with this fact!  We recommend applying sunscreen 15 minutes before heading outside and reapplying every 2 hours (more frequently if swimming or sweating!)  

How much sunscreen do you need?  The truth is that less than 50% of people apply enough sunscreen to get the advertised SPF benefit.  For most people, 1 ounce (enough to fill a shot glass) is the amount of sunscreen needed to cover the sun-exposed areas of the body.  Don’t forget – you even need sunscreen when it’s cloudy (the UV rays still can get to your skin!)

Baby Kamran is wearing his hat to protect him from the sun

Kamran sporting his new hat and ready for the summer sun!

What about the kids?  It is imperative that children use sunscreen regularly.  Children over 6 months of age should have a physical sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher applied every 2 hours.  Physical sunscreens use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to actually physically block the UV rays.  These can be purchased in creams, sprays, sticks, even brightly colored formulations that your kids will love.

The sun protective clothing mentioned above is PERFECT for the little kiddos.  Instead of fighting to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, throw on a sun protective rash guard while swimming and they won’t have to worry about creams or sprays to that area while they’re having fun.  Previously difficult to find, these sun protective clothing items can easily be found in most children’s stores – adults can find fashionable sun protective clothing for themselves at many clothing stores, as well as outdoor and sporting stores.  

Tareen Dermatology wishes you a safe, fun, and sun-protected start to your summer!  Happy Memorial Day!

Genetic Testing for Melanoma

Categories: BLOG, Dermatological Conditions, Health, Skin Cancer - Tags: , , , , , , ,
Melanoma Incidence Map Tareen Dermatology Roseville Minnesota Minneapolis St. Paul Twin Cities

Melanoma has a higher incidence rate in Minnesota than you would think (Photo courtesy of EPA.gov)

With the increase in melanoma seen across the world, dermatologists are looking for genetic tests to better identify those at risk for melanomas and other aggressive internal cancers.

According to Dr. Sandy Leachman, M.D., Ph.D., chair of Dermatology at Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland “Identifying the individuals who carry a causal melanoma mutation allows these patients to be screened for other cancers, like ocular melanoma or pancreatic cancer, before those cancers develop.  It is important to catch these cancers at their earliest stages, before they become life-threatening.”

Malignant melanoma evolving from a preexisting mole

Malignant melanoma evolving from a preexisting mole

Genetic testing is advantageous for melanoma patients as it allows targeted screening and early detection activities. For example:
-Mutation for p16 (cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 2A) — patients with this mutation carry a 70% lifetime risk of developing melanoma and a 20% lifetime of developing pancreatic cancer.
-Mutation of the BAB1 gene increases the risk for ocular melanoma and mesothelioma (not pancreatic cancer).

 

Patients who are recommended to have genetic testing for melanoma are those that meet the “Rules of Three”
  1.  At least 3 invasive melanomas in blood relatives OR
  2.  At least 3 melanomas in a single individual OR
  3. 3 melanomas in a patient/ family member as well as pancreatic cancer/other high risk cancers within a family(defined as astrocytoma, breast, prostate, ovarian, colon)
The Rule of 3 is just a guideline- if there is melanoma in an individual + a strong family history, please let Dr. Tareen and her colleagues know as we will help navigate the complexities of genetic testing.
The gene panel that is recommended to be checked in these individuals is the melanoma panel of CDKN2A, BAP1, CDK4, MITF, and POT. If the patient meets the “Rules of Three” for melanoma, as well as other cancers then an organ specific panel for breast, colon, ovarian, pancreatic or prostate cancer should also be obtained.
Genetic counselors can order these test. They are incredibly specific and may help save lives. If you or your family members meet any of these melanoma criterion, please let us know and we would be happy to discuss with you at one of our Tareen Dermatology locations in Roseville and Faribault,  Minnesota. We will help facilitate the advanced genetic testing necessary for early detection that may impact not only you, but also your family members.

All About Sunscreen

Categories: BLOG, Dermatological Conditions, Health, Skin Cancer, Tips and Tricks - Tags: , , , , , , , ,
There are so many options when it comes to picking a sunscreen. You should always be looking for a broad spectrum 30+ SPF.

There are so many options when it comes to picking a sunscreen. You should always be looking for a broad spectrum 30+ SPF.

With our recent beautiful Minnesota weather and summer quickly approaching, we would like to take time to review with our patients the benefits of regular sunscreen use. It is important for everyone to use a daily sunscreen, regardless of your skin color or race. Regular sunscreen use can help prevent skin cancer by protecting you from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime

So what type of sunscreen should I use?

Tareen Dermatology SilkShade Tinted Sunscreen Dermatology Roseville Twin Cities Minnesota Zinc

SilkShade Broad Spectrum Tinted Sunscreen with SPF 30 is a great natural source of topical Zinc.

  • We recommend a “broad spectrum” sunscreen, which means that it will protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin’s thickest layer, and unprotected exposure can lead to premature skin aging, wrinkling, and suppression of the immune system. UVB rays burn the superficial layers of your skin and it plays a key role in the development of skin cancer.
  • Choose a Sun Protective Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. While no sunscreen blocks 100 percent of the harmful UV rays, SPF 30 blocks 97%, SPF 50 blocks 98%, and SPF 100 blocks 99%. It is also important to remember that high-number SPFs last the same amount of time as low-number SPFs.
  • Look for water resistant products. There is no sunscreen that is completely water proof. Sunscreen manufacturers can use the term “water resistant” if the sunscreen has been proven to remain effective in water for a period of time, usually 40 or 80 minutes. It is important to reapply sunscreen after swimming.
  • We recommend mineral based products that create a physical barrier on the skin. Look for sunscreens containing the ingredients zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. The physical blocking sunscreen offers immediate protection from the sun, as opposed to the chemical based sunscreens that must be absorbed into the skin for 30 minutes prior to going outdoors.
  • A few brands that we like include Elta MD, Tareen Dermatology SilkShade, Vanicream, CeraVe, and Blue Lizard.

When does my sunscreen expire?

We recommend using sunscreen every day when you are outside, even during the winter and on cloudy days, as the sun emits harmful UV rays year-round. If you are using the correct amount of sunscreen every day, a bottle should not last long. That being said, the FDA requires that all sunscreens retain their original strength for at least 3 years. Some sunscreens will have an expiration date, throw it out once the date has passed. Look for visible signs that the sunscreen is no longer good, including obvious changes to color or consistency.

How much do I need to use?

Most adults need one ounce of sunscreen to fully cover the sun exposed skin. This equates to the amount you could hold in the palm of your hand. Most sunscreen bottles are 3 oz in size, so if using the correct amount, a bottle should only last for about 3 applications. Remember your neck, face, ears, tops of feet, and scalp if you have thinning hair. Don’t forget about your lips- apply a lip balm with SPF at least 15. Left sided skin cancer is more prevalent due to the sun exposure related to driving. Be sure to take extra precautions to protect your skin while driving.

What should I do if I get a sunburn?

photo courtesy on skinenergizer.com

Photo courtesy skinenergizer.com

We hope that you can avoid getting a sunburn in the first place by wearing proper protection, but in the event of a sunburn, the first thing you should do is get out of the sun and get indoors. Treating the sunburn as soon as you notice it will help to heal damaged skin more quickly. Here are some tips and tricks to soothe and heal the irritated skin:

  • Take frequent cool baths or showers to help relieve the pain. Apply a thick moisturizer to damp skin after showering to seal water into your skin. Using a moisturizer containing aloe vera or soy can help soothe inflamed skin.
  • You can apply a small amount of over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone cream to areas that are particularly uncomfortable. Avoid applying “caine” products (like benzocaine), as these can further irritate the skin and cause an allergic reaction
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen can help reducing swelling and discomfort associated with the burn.
  • Drinking extra water when you are sunburned helps prevent dehydration.
  • If your skin blisters, allow the blisters to heal while taking extra care to protect the sun burned skin. Avoid popping the blister, because the reason it forms is to help heal your skin and protect you from infection. If you develop blistering of the skin, it means that you have a second-degree sunburn.

Melanoma Monday

Categories: BLOG, Dermatological Conditions, Health, Skin Cancer - Tags: , , , , , ,

Today is Melanoma Monday!

moles-atypicalThis is an important day for all of us at Tareen Dermatology, as it gives us the opportunity to remind our patients that although melanoma is one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer, it can be prevented with good sun protection and easily treated when caught early. We recommend that all of our patients have what we refer to as a ‘full body skin exam’ once a year, so that we can monitor your skin for new or changing moles. If you have had a skin cancer previously, we may even recommend that you come in more frequently. During this visual exam, we identify lesions or moles on your skin that should be monitored or removed for evaluation.

So why is it so important to be monitored for melanoma (and other skin cancers)?

The reason we recommend the once year skin exam is because melanoma can be treated successfully if diagnosed early. The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be over 87,000 new cases of melanoma diagnosed in 2017 alone. Although melanoma is not the most common type of skin cancer, it is the most common cause of death from skin cancer. It is estimated that nearly 10,000 people will die of melanoma in 2017, that’s approximately one person every hour.

Malignant melanoma evolving from a preexisting mole

Malignant melanoma evolving from a preexisting mole

We don’t share these facts and statistics from the American Cancer Society to scare you; we share them with you to remind you of the importance of regular dermatology visits to screen for melanoma and other skin cancers. Your risk of melanoma can increase due to factors like genetics, history of multiple sunburns and tanning bed use; however, a recent study by The Journal of Clinical Oncology reported that the daily use of sunscreen can reduce your risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent!

What can you do at home to monitor your skin for melanoma?

Great question! Performing self-checks at home is an important way to catch a new or changing mole. If you notice something new or changing, we recommend scheduling an appointment for evaluation with one of our Tareen Dermatology providers right away.

Here is what we recommend you look for when checking your skin at home – we call this the ABCDEs of Melanoma:

ABCDE of Skin Cancer

ABCDE of Skin Cancer

A – Asymmetry

B – Border Irregularity

C – Color Variation

D – Diameter greater than 6mm

E – Evolving (does that mole look different than it did last year?)

On this Melanoma Monday, please remember to schedule your yearly skin exam at Tareen Dermatology and make a pledge to practice safe sun habits to protect yourself and your loved ones in 2017.

Bed bugs at your hotel? A guide to prevention.

Categories: BLOG, Dermatological Conditions, Health, Tips and Tricks - Tags: , , , , , , ,

As we enter the holiday travel season, I would like to educate my Tareen Dermatology patients about bed bugs, and more importantly, how to avoid picking them up at hotels.

Bed Bug bites often occur in a line or pattern.

Bed Bug bites often occur in a line or pattern.

Bed bugs are parasitic insects of the cimicid family that feed exclusively on blood. Cimex lectularius is the most common type of bed bug and the type that causes most human infestations.

Unfortunately, bed bugs can live months (and even YEARS) between blood meals. Bed bugs also lay a great deal of eggs and have many offspring. In addition, bed bugs have evolved to become resistant to many insecticides and can survive weeks at extreme temperatures. Thus, PREVENTING bed bugs infestation is the best strategy.

At hotels:

  1. Look around: Bed bugs like right angles, so they can be found on headboards, bed frames, mattress piping, drawers, and windows. They can also be present on the under surfaces of furniture or in peeling paint.
  2. Check for droppings: Bed bug droppings typically are round brown splotches. Check mattresses and sheets as well as other furniture. If droppings are seen, bed bugs have been there and are probably still there.
  3. Follow the 3 foot rule: Check areas within 3 feet or so of hotel beds for evidence of bed bugs as this is the typical distance that they travel.

If you picked them up at your hotel and are now home:

  1. Utilize high heat: Heavy vacuuming and steaming may kill bed bugs if the temperatures are high enough.
  2. Lose the insecticide and forget cold: Insecticides are rarely effective. Bed bugs can also withstand freezing temperatures. Heat and mattress encasements tend to be most effective.
  3. Call Dr. Tareen: For resistant infestations, there are pills and topicals that can be prescribed.

If infestation with bed bugs does occur, do not worry. Bed bug bites are not dangerous. They are however very itchy and do look bad. So, follow the above tips to prevent these little nuisances from ruining your winter vacation.

 

 

The Importance of Skin Cancer Screening at any Age

Categories: BLOG, Dermatological Conditions, Skin Cancer, Tips and Tricks - Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

“I never used sunscreen when I was younger”, “That freckle has been there forever!”, “I didn’t realize I was able to have a yearly skin check with my insurance”.

Melanoma-Chart

ABCDE of Melanoma

These are comments from patients that we hear everyday in our clinic. Many patients may not know the benefits of skin screening, or what to look for when they do at home skin exams. The great majority of patients do not know that skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in adults in the United States today. Each year, over three million patients with be diagnosed with basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers and over 75,000 will be diagnosed with melanoma. Basal and squamous cell carcinomas are rarely fatal, although they can result in significant problems if left untreated. It is estimated that over 10,000 patients in the United States will die from melanomas in 2016.

Everyday at Tareen Dermatology, we diagnose and treat all types of skin cancers. Each skin cancer can be treated in a variety of ways, and we have resources to treat you. It is important for everyone to have their yearly skin checks and also be aware of what to look for at home.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends full body skin exams for all adults over the age of 18, as well as for any younger patients who are at a higher risk for skin cancers. If you have a family history of melanoma, more than 50 moles on your body, or if you have had a significant amount of UV exposure you should be screened for skin cancers. During the full skin exam, your Provider will take a look at all of your skin from your scalp to the spaces in between your toes! If there are any lesions that look suspicious, they may recommend a biopsy. If you need a biopsy, the procedure is quick and easy as illustrated in this video. Biopsy results are usually provided to the patient within 14 days.

Between your in-office skin exams, it is important to also be checking your skin monthly to look for any changes. The ABCDE’s of melanoma provide a quick and easy guideline of “red flags” to look for with moles or freckles. Many patients will come in with concern about a freckle that is changing in appearance, or is suddenly painful, itchy or bleeding. If you notice that you have a lesion that matches any of the ABCDE’s, it is recommended to follow-up in clinic for a spot check.

Skin cancers can occur anywhere on the skin, and they can occur on all skin types and colors. In Minnesota we have one of the highest rates of melanoma in the country. It is important to protect your skin on a daily basis with SPF 30+ UV broad spectrum sunscreens, as well as visit your Dermatologist for a yearly check up.

If you would like to schedule an appointment for a skin exam or spot check, please call our office at 651-633-6883or email us at appointments@tareendermatology.com.

 

 

Startling Rise in US Melanoma Incidence

Categories: BLOG, Dermatological Conditions, Skin Cancer - Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Melanoma Incidence Map Tareen Dermatology Roseville Minnesota Minneapolis St. Paul Twin Cities

Melanoma has a higher incidence rate in Minnesota than you would think (Photo courtesy of EPA.gov)

According to the CDC, a startling increase in the number of cases of melanoma has been seen over the past 30 years. Data shows that from 1982- 2011 the number of cases of melanoma doubled from 11.2 to 22.7 per 100,000 people. The annual incidence is expected to peak at 112,000 new cases of melanoma by 2030.

The survival for those diagnosed with early stage melanoma is good: greater than 90% of those diagnosed with early melanoma are expected to survive 10 years. Unfortunately, the survival rates of those diagnosed with advanced or metastatic melanoma are very poor.  The 10 year survival for stage 4 melanoma is only 10-15%.

There may, however, be many new therapeutic options for the treatment of advanced melanoma that will hopefully improve outcomes. Since 2011, the FDA has approved eight new agents to treat metastatic melanoma.

Still, the main message of melanoma experts is prevention. The earlier an atypical skin lesion is caught and removed, the higher the rate of cure and survival. Please remember to schedule your regular full skin exams and perform self-skin exams monthly.

Our team at Tareen Dermatology is proud to participate in the cure for melanoma at the Twin Cities Miles for Melanoma Walk this year on August 13th. Don’t worry, we’ll be walking with sunscreen!

 

A Pill Today to Keep Cancer Away?

Categories: BLOG, Skin Cancer - Tags: , , , , , ,
PHOTO: Prescription vial with pills

Vitamin B3 (Nicotinamide) may be purchased over the counter at your local pharmacy (courtesy of HinesRx.com)

Vitamin B3 (Nicotinamide) has recently been shown to reduce the number of non-melanoma skin cancers and actinic keratoses. In a recent Australian study, high risk individuals with a history of basal or squamous skin cancer were randomized to receive Nicotinamide or placebo supplements. The group that consumed Nicotinamide 500 mg twice daily experienced a 23% reduction in the number of pre-cancer and cancerous lesions.

Nicotinamide works by boosting the skin’s immune system and helping repair sun damage. The vitamin is safe, affordable, and readily available over-the-counter.

In conjunction with sun safe behavior, sunscreen, and sun-protective clothing, Nicotinamide appears to be a great adjunct for those at high risk for skin cancer!

Even Having Normal Moles Quadruples Your Risk of Melanoma

Categories: BLOG, Skin Cancer - Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
07_05.tif

Atypical (Dysplastic) Nevi (courtesy of WebMD)

A recent study in Great Britain compared approximately 300,000 individuals with normal moles to 10 million individuals with no moles and followed them from 1999 -2011.  Researchers found that the mole group developed 4.67 times more melanoma.  These melanomas were found both at the site of pre-existing moles and elsewhere on the body.

Dermatologists already know individuals with atypical moles (also referred to as dysplastic nevi) have an up to 27 times higher likelihood of developing melanoma than the general public. The British study is noteworthy as it demonstrates that even individuals with normal moles have a higher risk of melanoma.
A few other relevant facts discussed in the study include:
  • Approximately 50% of melanomas develop in pre-existing moles (thus even a mole you have had your entire life can change and become melanoma)
  • The greater that number of moles, the higher risk an individual has of developing melanoma
Thus, Minnesota dermatologist Dr. Tareen and her Roseville dermatology colleagues recommend daily sun protection, monthly self-skin checks, and yearly professional full body exams. Also remember, if a mole changes, it is time to call your doctor– melanoma is one cancer that is preventable!
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