John Wayne Fights Skin Cancer
Posted Wed, Aug 25, 2010

Whoah!. Little Lady …(inflection as spoken by John Wayne to Janet Leigh).
Did you see them figures on the rise of skin cancer in the latest publication of The Skin Cancer Foundation? Between 1994 and 2009 the number of yearly skin cancer cases in the US has risen from 1 million cases per year to 2 million cases per year. Malignant melanoma now kills 8600 Americans per year – up from 8000. Indoor tanners have 4.44 times the risk of malignant melanoma as non-tanners (confirmed by the World Health Organization). Window glass filters UVB radiation but allows more than 60% of UVA to penetrate. So much for the ridiculous protests of the tanning industry . The federal government now taxes tanning parlors but classifies the tanning booth as a Class I medical device. Elastic bandages and tongue depressors are also Class I medical devices and I never heard anyone imply that they cause cancer and death.
Now I am not going to get smokers to stop smoking, alcoholics to stop drinking, and tanning addicts to stop tanning. But what about your kids! In Australia every child born will have at least one skin cancer in his lifetime. Right now the odds are something like 1 in 7 children born in the US will have skin cancer at least once in his lifetime and we will achieve Australian status soon. It seems to me that this epidemic will only be controlled by educating young people on the risks and rewards of sun exposure. Yes sunlight is essential for mental well being. Yes, it is an important factor in producing Vitamin D. Yes, I thank God every morning I step out of the house and the sun is shining (I am serious). But enjoying the gifts of Earth does not imply endorsing self-abuse. I see no value in cutting off skin cancer after skin cancer as if that is good medicine although it provides a great living for dermatologists and plastic surgeons.
So here are some ideas:
1. Talk to your kids and grandkids about the need to avoid too much sun and especially sunburns
2. For children under the age of 2 use protective clothing and umbrellas and do not smother them in sun screens which can penetrate their young skin and go into which organ???
3. Sun screens are screens. They let UV light through!! They must be applied every two hours to be effective and they must form a reservoir in the skin to be effective.
4. Do not use combination sunscreens and insecticides. They usually don’t work and they may be harmful.
5. If you have had skin cancer you have 100% chance of another cancer if you live long enough
6. Get on the adjuvant band-wagon. Ask your doctor to help you prevent skin cancer.
7. Take oral vitamin A 10,000-20,000 units daily and get a blood test once a year to make sure you don’t overdose.
8. Apply tretinoin (vitamin A) to your face every night for the rest of your life. Topical and oral vitamin A may provide up to 98% protection from new skin cancer.
9. If a lesion suddenly appears or changes in size, shape, color, or bleeds, see a dermatologist.
10. Don’t give double messages to your kids! If you take care of yourself they may take care of themselves. If they don’t get the message have the kids see me. Sometimes the message gets clearer when presented by someone outside the family- or by an uncle.

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Edward Lack
Edward Lack MD is a board certified dermatologist and a board certified dermatologic cosmetic surgeon. He is President and Medical Director of MetropolitanMD, a multispecialty cosmetic surgery center in Chicago,which is unique in having a double board certified cosmetic dermatologic surgeon, a double board certified facial plastic surgeon, and a double board certified cosmetic plastic surgeon. Dr. Lack is also the Past President of The American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery.

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