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Cancer Awareness

Back to School? Don’t Ditch the Sunscreen Just Yet

As you prepare to send your kids back to school, the to-do lists and back-to-school shopping start to pile up. It’s no surprise sun protection slips down the list of priorities as you move away from outdoor activities and focus on classroom needs.

But don’t put the sunscreen away just yet. Studies show that children sustain significant amounts of sun exposure while at school. About 23 percent of lifetime UV exposure occurs before the age of 18. This exposure can have far-reaching effects. Because sun damage is cumulative, too much sun exposure during childhood can contribute to a higher risk of skin cancer later in life.

Consider the following tips from the Skin Cancer Foundation before your kids return to school.

Recess or Outdoor Activities:

Ask the school administration, teacher, or coaches about the planned breaks while the class is outside. UV rays are most intense from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Typically, students have outdoor recess or after-school sports between these peak sun hours. Ask if there are accommodations for shaded break areas. Covered areas like gazebos, roof structures, awnings, shade sails, and natural shade, such as thickly leaved trees, are some examples of shaded rest areas.

Clothing Choice:

Clothing choice is a basic form of sun protection. Dressing in densely woven and bright-colored clothes is the single most effective form of sun protection for the body. Send your children to school in densely woven and bright- or dark-colored fabrics. The more skin you cover, the better, so choose long sleeves shirts and pants whenever possible.

Head and Neck Protection:

Send children to school with a wide-brimmed hat or baseball cap and UV-blocking sunglasses to protect their face, neck, and eyes.

Sunscreen:

Make sunscreen part of the morning routine. At least 30 minutes before children go outside, parents should apply a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher to their skin. Older children should learn to apply sunscreen themselves and make it a routine habit. To remain effective, sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating. At a minimum, remind children to reapply sunscreen before after-school sports and outdoor activities. One ounce of sunscreen (about the size of a golf ball) should be applied to the entire body. Remind children to cover those easy-to-miss spots, such as the back of the ears and neck, as well as the tops of the feet and hands.

Expert Cancer Care

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3 Common Types of Skin Cancer

Each year, there are 3.5 million cases of skin cancer diagnosed in the United States. As the most common cancer type, it is important to perform regular self-checks to catch any suspicious spots early. If caught soon enough, the treatment success increases significantly.

There are many types of skin cancer which can be more common in different areas of the body and may show up in a variety of forms. The three most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma is typically found on the head or neck and may first appear as a pale patch of skin or a waxy translucent bump. A telling sign is a blood vessel or indentation in the center of the bump. If the cancer spots develop on the chest, it appears similar to a brown colored scar or flesh-colored lesion. Watch for bleeding or oozing, this is a sign it is more developed.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma can also take the form of a lump on the skin. These are firm lumps and are rough on the surface, unlike basal cells which have a smooth and pearly appearance. This cancer type usually develops on the head, neck, hands or arms, but also may develop in other areas such as genital region or in scars or skin sores.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Merkel cell carcinoma appear as raised, flesh-colored moles that grow quickly. These are small tumors and typically appear on areas of the skin that are most exposed to the sun such as the face, neck or scalp.

What are the Signs of Skin Cancer?

Typically, skin cancer develop on exposed areas of the skin, making early detection more possible. It’s important to regularly examine your skin to catch any unusual changes to an existing mole or a suspicious growth.

Although skin cancer can develop in a variety of locations, and appear in different forms, there are common symptoms to look for when checking your skin for suspicious spots no matter the location. Here are some common signs of skin cancer to keep in mind:

  • An unusual skin growth or sore that has not gone away
  • Spots that are raised and/or bleed easily
  • The size and shape of the spot changes over time

When performing a self-screen, remember to check less exposed areas of the body, as these can still develop skin cancer although less likely: underneath nails, on the palms of hands, soles of feet, genitals and the eyes.

If you notice any of these symptoms, talk to your primary care provider or dermatologist about your concerns.

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July is Bone Cancer Awareness Month – Know the Types, Causes and Symptoms

What is Bone Cancer?

Bone cancer can be found in any bone of the body and has the potential to spread. Typically, bone cancer develops in the pelvis or the long bones, such as the legs and arms. Although it is less common than other cancer types, it’s good to be proactive and understand the different kinds of bone cancer, who’s at risk and the symptoms associated.

Primary Bone Cancer VS Bone Metastasis

Primary bone cancer can begin in any part of the bone structure including the bone itself, the muscle, tissues and blood vessels.

There are many types of primary bone cancer. Some are rarer than others, the most common types are as follows:

  • Chondrosarcoma starts in the early stages of cartilage cells. Chondrosarcoma can develop anywhere there is cartilage. Most often it starts in the pelvic bones, legs or arms. The risk of chondrosarcoma increases with age.
  • Ewing sarcoma is a group of tumors that start in the bone or nearby soft tissues. Although these tumors can develop at any age, they are most common in older children and teens.
  • Osteosarcoma is the most common type of primary cancer. It is found in the early forms of bone cells and often occurs in young people between the ages of 10 and 30.

Bone metastasis differs from primary bone cancer because it spreads into the bone from an advanced cancer such as prostate cancer or breast cancer. This is more common than primary bone cancer. When bone metastasis occurs, the cancer cells will need the same treatment as the advanced cancer the metastasis stems from.

Signs and Symptoms of Bone Cancer

Because there are many different types of primary bone cancers, the symptoms can differ depending on the type, location and the extent of the cancer. Common symptoms associated with most types of bone cancer are pain, a lump or swelling, and fractures.

Similar to other cancer types, bone cancer can cause weight loss or fatigue. If the cancer has spread beyond the bone, you might experience symptoms specific to the infected part of the body. For example, if bone cancer spreads to the lungs, you might experience difficulty breathing.

Symptoms are typically associated with other conditions, such as injuries or arthritis. If you notice persistent symptoms related to bone cancer or metastasis, see a doctor to catch tumors early.

Expert Care

No two situations are the same. That’s why our caring team of experts are here to provide you with a custom-tailored treatment plan that is unique to your diagnosis, tumor size, location and involvement. Click on the button below to learn more.