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Sat, Oct. 16th, 2004, 10:00 pm
duracell: New Skin Cancer Community : Melanoma

I have recently been affected by the issue of Skin Cancer and I am still undergoing the intial steps into finding out more about my Melanoma. Although there are many websites dedicated to just Melanoma rather than Skin Cancer, I have set this community up for users of Livejournal to exchange personal experiences so that this community may become a starting point and support journal for anoyone affected by the issue of Malignant Melanoma or Skin Cancer in general. I hope to be posting information which I myself find useful. The web is full of different angles on the same issue so I hope we can present a balanced approach to any information found.



Dangers
The dangers of exposure to the sun are still understated and tend to drop away from people's minds when the summer is hot and the sun is high and pleasurable. A lot of damage to the skin can be caused within the first 20 years of a persons life. In childhood where parents are either not aware of the dangers to their children or for whatever reason protection is lacking. Through teenage years, teenagers, parents, peers and teachers must be aware of the same and ever increasing dangers of sun exposure and as young adults, a person can become more proactive about their skin care. Into full on adulthood awareness may give way to the desire to get a new fresh tan along with their peers on holiday for example or maintain their appearance with a quick session at the tanning salon.

Slow to show, quick to spread
Problems arising from Sun damage may take years to become visible and may not include any painful or ill effects to a persons health, making a diagnosis of Skin Cancer all the more confusing and emotional.

Melanoma seems to be the most worrying form of Skin Cancers, cases of which are on the increase and there may be more deaths from Melanoma in the UK than in Australia. It is worrying because if left undected it can grow so thick that it starts traveling around the body, evidence of which is known as "Mets". Melanoma affects the pigment of the skin and forms darkend brown or red moles or spots with unregular and ragged borders, these moles or spots may not appear in the region of a sunburn. Burning in the sun significantly increases the risk of developing Melanoma. Walking out of the house to spend a day in the sun without Sun protection such as sunscreen SPF 15 or higher, or suitable clothing can vastly increase the chance of sunburn if your risk factors are high, such as having light hair and pale skin.

Weather Reports and Timings
Some weather broadcasters, such as the BBC and Met Office in the UK broadcast and make availble "Sun Index" levels which help give time estimates on how long it will take for a persons skin to burn on that particular day. Minutes can roughly be linked with the number given which I think is given on a scale of 1 to 10. It is advisable to stay out of direct sunlight between the hours of 11:00 (11am) and 15:00 (3pm) when the sun is at it's strongest.

The Sun Smart site is a good source of information to inform other people of the dangers of the sun. But if you are reading this then maybe that information has come too late in the day, awareness of your own skin should be a high priority.

Treatments
Professionals will jump right in on suspect moles or spots to intervene and find out more about a persons circumstance, the speed of which can be very worrying for the person involved and also to their friends and families. Going through this with little information, like I have, can be very worrying but the professional staff are at hand to do everything they can. Melanoma is quickley becoming the commonest form of Skin Cancer and due to the risks involved I would seriously advise anyone who may have doubts about any mole or brown spot to seek professional medical advice as soon as possible and monitor the situation.

Prevention is always better than cure, more needs to be done on the prevention side, such as mandatory placment of sun screen and sun protection policies in schools. Where prevention is too late then we must focus on support, understanding and guidance and I hope this journal will be one place where collectivly we can create a small web of support.

Wed, Nov. 16th, 2005 09:17 pm (UTC)
ynottarps: Melanoma

I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma on Sept 27th and I'm currently undergoing treatment. I set up a live journal to let people know how I was going so feel free to check it out. I encourage you to advertise and grow the forum that you have created so that others can benefit from it like I have.

http://www.livejournal.com/users/ynottarps

Thu, Nov. 17th, 2005 01:14 am (UTC)
duracell: Re: Melanoma

Sorry to hear about the surgery, hope all is well. Is this community thing still here ... I've not updated it for yonks! I was diagnosed Oct 14th 2004, it wasn't too bad until I got the results ages after, 2 Melanoma's, one 6mm nodular that had been bleeding, Breslow depth off the scale :) I haven't been through Interferon, lymph bioppsy or chemo, apart from surgery the doctors don't seem to think anything would be of benefit.

I've just launched a site actually you might be interested in, it's trying to promote better detection rates by arming people with knowledge and expereince of what the warning sings of skin cancer are. http://www.moleaware.org.

checkout mpip.org which is an excellent resource for patients. Hope all goes well and stay strong!