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New FDA guidelines

New FDA guidelines for sunscreen and sunscreen labels effective June 18, 2012: What you need to know

1 – In order for a sunscreen label to say “broad spectrum” it must be FDA-certified to provide a significant amount of UVA protection.

2 – Sunscreen labels can no longer say “waterproof,” “sweatproof,” “instant protection,” “all day protection,” or “sunblock.”

3 – Sunscreens can be labeled as water resistant if the label specifies whether the product is water resistant for 40 or 80 minutes.

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Emerging Skin Cancer Treatments

On July 27, 2006 the American Academy of Dermatology held its summer scientific meeting in San Diego.  At the meeting, Dr. Hensin Tsao, M.D., Ph.D. discussed emerging treatments for skin cancer.  These treatments include targeted therapies, immunotherapy, and the use of stem cells.


Skin cancer treatment usually involves surgically removing the cancer cells as well as healthy cells.  Targeted therapies can detect the difference between cancer cells and healthy cells by targeting certain genes and proteins specific to the proliferation of cancer cells.  Only the cancer cells are destroyed in these therapies.  By affecting fewer healthy cells it reduces the side effects that are normally experienced in cancer treatment.  Dr. Tsao is quoted as saying the most challenging aspect of targeted therapies is that tumors can become resistant to a targeted treatment.  He continues by saying Research continues to tackle these issues and each day brings us closer to finding answers.


Immunotherapy involved using the bodys own immune system to cause regression in cancer cells.  Different types of immunotherapy include cell transfer immunotherapy and topical immunotherapy.  This type of treatment has demonstrated regression in 50 percent of patients who did not respond to other types of melanoma treatment.  Researchers continue to try to find effective immunotherapy.


Cell transfer immunotherapy stimulates the bodys own immune system to eliminate tumors.  Topical immunotherapy is the use of a cream applied directly to basal cell carcinoma and actinic keratosis.  The cream helps the body break down the cancer cells and replaces them with healthy cells. 


Stem cells have received a lot of press in recent years with their promise of treating a variety of diseases due to their ability to divide without limits.  Evidence suggests that there are stem cells in cancer tumors as well.  Researchers are working toward developing therapies aimed at cancer stem cells prohibiting their contribution to tumor growth.


From: The American Academy of Dermatology



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Quality of Parent-Child Relationships Influences Sun Safety

A recent study was conducted to determine the effectiveness of a parent-based intervention program aimed at reducing unhealthy sun safe behaviors in young children.  Researchers concluded that a high quality parent-child relationship positively influences sun safe behaviors in children ages 9 to 12 years old and reduces unhealthy sun behaviors.

The study included 469 children ages 9 to 12 in southern Idaho, and eastern Tennessee.  The experimental group, consisting of 340 children, received intervention materials.  The control group did not receive anything.

Parents were given a handbook and asked to read the materials and implement an intervention with their children.  A pre-test and post-test measured the effectiveness of the intervention.

Four moderator variables were used including parent-child relationship, negative communication, parental monitoring, and child compliance.  Sunburn frequency decreased in children who showed higher levels of compliance.  Sunburn severity decreased in children whose parents demonstrated a high level of parental monitoring. Sunbathing tendencies were affected by three of four of the moderators including parent-child relationship, child compliance, and negative communication. 

The intervention has the greatest chance of success in families where the quality of the parent child relationship is high, children show a greater level of compliance, and where there is the least amount of negative communication.

Although the study shows that children from families with a high level of parental monitoring practice healthy sun habits, they suggest that this might be due to the parent's already increased level of awareness in their children's behavior.  As such they recommend that this type of intervention might be most needed and useful in families with a low level of parental monitoring.

Article Published: Torussi R, Hillhouse J, Robinson J, et al. Influence of Parent and Child Characteristics on a Parent-Based Intervention to Reduce Unsafe Sun Practices in Children 9 to 12 Years Old. Arch Dermatol. 2006; 142:1009-1014 

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Skin cancer more likely to kill men

Researchers at the Victorian Melanoma Service in Australia have found that men over 60 are more than twice as likely to die from skin cancer as women of the same age.  Projected death rates among men in the 60-plus age group are expected to increase by as much as 20 per cent in the next five years


Many men don't visit the doctor for a skin exam until its too late for surgery to prevent the spread of cancer to other parts of the body.  It is as important for men as it is for women to conduct regular skin self-exams and visit your doctor.


New data shows the number of Victorian men diagnosed with malignant melanoma has increased by more than 30 per cent for those aged between 60 and 80.  Unfortunately, this increase is because due of damage done years ago. 


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