Tag Archives: skin cancer

Minimizing Summer Skin Problems with Ayurveda

Having suffered three skin cancers, I feel strongly about anything that might help. Here are some wise words that go far beyond SPF 30 or higher broad spectrum sunblock.

Tips-For-Exercising-In-Hot-Weather-610x350

To read further on summer heat and sun problems check out my two Pages:

What to do about extreme heat

Skin cancer facts in general and my three skin cancer surgeries in particular

Tony

STAYING HEALTHY WITH AYURVEDA

By this point, everyone knows that the sun can cause severe damage to the skin. Our skin is the largest organ in our body, one of the main organs of purification. It acts as an insulator, regulates body temperature, and protects us from the harmful radiations of the sun. During the long days of summer, when exposure to the sun is at its peak, the risk of damage to our skin increases multifold.

Over-exposure to sun can allow extreme ultraviolet (UV) rays to penetrate through the layers of our skin, harming the DNA of our cells. From the perspective of Ayurveda, the intensity of the sun’s heat during the summer also aggravates Pitta dosha.

According to Ayurveda, most skin problems are associated with an imbalance of Pitta dosha, which governs metabolism, heat and digestion. Pitta has five subdivisions or “subdoshas”, and one of them, Bhranjaka Pitta, resides in the skin. Its…

View original post 849 more words

2 Comments

Filed under Ayurvedic medicine, skin cancer, Skin cancer surgery

Myths and Facts about Sunburn and Sunscreen

There is no such thing as waterproof sunscreen. So says Dr. Neda Ashourian of the Northwestern Skin Cancer Institute, Ltd. Speaking before the hospital’s Healthy Transitions group, Dr. Ashourian said that the best you can get is water-resistant sunscreen. So reapply when you come out of the water.


On that subject she said that when buying sunscreen to get SPF 30 or greater. It is critical to look for the terms Broad Spectrum on the container. If those words aren’t present, the sunscreen, no matter how high the SPF rating, may not protect you from the damaging Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays of the sun.

Some other dangers from sun included – windows. The UVA rays can penetrate windows, but not the Ultraviolet B (UVB).

You can get sunburn on a cloudy day because 80 percent of the sun’s rays penetrate clouds and fog.

At the beach sand reflects ultraviolet rays so you have to be doubly careful there and be certain that you have fresh sunscreen on. You need to reapply sunscreen after two hours because it wears off.

Finally, the end of summer is not the end of danger from ultraviolet light. Snow reflects UV light so you need to protect your face when skiing or engaging in other outdoor activities.

I have written about sunburn several times in the past couple of weeks and I want to reiterate probably the most important concept I have learned, namely there is no such thing as a healthy tan. I am disturbed to realize that as I have always prided myself on the nice tan that I got out riding in the sun. But, a “nice tan” is the siren song of skin cancer. Pay her no heed.

On a related subject, please check out my Page – How to Deal With Extreme Heat.

Tony

4 Comments

Filed under sun screen, sunburn, Uncategorized

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Consider this a ‘don’t let this happen to you’ post. As a skin cancer sufferer, I wanted to share this information with you.

I have had three basal cell carcinomas surgically removed in the past few years. You can read the details on my Page Skin Cancer Facts and My Three Skin Cancer Surgeries in Particular. My dermatologist told me, “There is no such thing as a healthy tan.”

 

 

Truth about Tanning.jpg

b0425149-9e1d-4ab8-9c57-f573754bcbae

how_to_spot_skin_cancer_infographic1

Tony

Leave a comment

Filed under skin cancer, Skin cancer surgery

What About Emu Oil?

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

I stumbled across this strange substance while in the dog park. Despite the expression, “What happens in the dog park stays in the dog park,” I am going to share my experience  with you.

There was a Doberman that had the most beautiful coat I had ever seen on a dog. This dog’s coat epitomized the word lustrous. The Dobe just stood out from the other canines. I asked the owner what she used to produce such a gorgeous coat. She said that she rubbed it with emu oil.

Not recognizing the word, I asked her to spell it. E-M-U. Okay, when I got home I went to work on the computer and learned from the Maple Springs Website: “Emu oil comes from the rendered and refined fat of the emu bird. The emu is similar to an ostrich, a member of the ratite family. Most of…

View original post 677 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under emu oil

Jessica Alba’s Honest Company Sunscreen Harming Customers

Jessica Alba’s Honest Company which prides itself on selling healthy organic products seems to have really dropped the ball with its Sunscreen product.

71+DcInjAJL._SL1500_

Time reported, “Users of Jessica Alba’s Honest Company Sunscreen Are Posting Photos of Epic Sunburns”

“In a statement to the Today Show, the Honest Company stressed that the sunscreen is tested by an independent third party with positive results and that “the number of complaints received on our own website about our Sunscreen Lotion constitute less than one half of one percent of all units actually sold at Honest.com. We stand behind the safety and efficacy of this product.”

This statement seems strange to me in view of the fact that users commenting on Amazon go back all the way to April and the company continues to stand by their product.

Out of 189 customer reviews on Amazon, more than 140 were negative.

Here are a couple of the Amazon comments:

WARNING! Do Not Use! Increases Sunburns!
By Adam Watson on May 13, 2015
Sunburn Accelerant! I feel like filing a lawsuit against Honest. You don’t mess around with something this important. We applied this before going to the beach and reapplied at the beach after swimming. We all got burned, especially my daughter. I feel like a bad parent. I had a bottle of Neutrogena sunscreen spray but forgot to take it. The Honest sunscreen seemed to make my daughter burn even more than if she had no sunscreen at all. Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Honest Company Sunscreen, Jessica Alba's Honest Company

More Skin Cancer Awareness Facts – Infographic

After posting the very informative infographic on skin cancer detection  yesterday, I have run across this new one today and wanted to share it with you. This one has more to do with protecting yourself from skin cancer rather than recognizing its signs.

Cover up. My dermatologist says, “There is no such thing as a healthy tan.”

If you want to read further on it, you can check out my Page – Skin Cancer Facts in General and My Three Skin Cancer Surgeries in Particular.

0212f2bebcf981e5c9b0825627fe8fafRemember, Broad Spectrum sun block is what you need.

Tony

Leave a comment

Filed under skin cancer

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month – Infographic

As a skin cancer sufferer I really should apologize for running this infographic so late in the month dedicated to Skin Cancer Awareness.

I have had three basal cell carcinomas surgically removed in the past few years. You can read the details on my Page Skin Cancer Facts and My Three Skin Cancer Surgeries in Particular.

How_to_SPOT_Skin_Cancer_Infographic1

Tony

2 Comments

Filed under skin cancer

How the Body Rebuilds – Infographic

I love this. It is a perfect reminder that no matter how bad we might mess up, we can always get back on track. Our body is renewing itself every day. We just have to help it.

On the positive side, think – every day in every way I am getting better and better.

0d6309de8eb4ffd9554dbbd8c071958cTony

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

How to Hide/Heal a Facial Scar – Chapter 2

Actually, this isn’t really chapter two, but it is the second blog post on hiding and healing a facial scar. I wrote the first one in August of 2013. You can read the post How Emu Oil and Coconut Oil Hid a Facial Scar. I wrote it a year after the Mohs surgery I had in 2012 and showed the result.

Now comes chapter two. Back in September of 2014 I went under the knife again as I had managed to accumulate two basal cell carcinomas. The first was on the other side of my face, symmetry anyone? The second on my back. As occurred the first time, I had about 15 stitches on my face and a scar extending longer than an inch. You can see it on the illustration below. In the interest of brevity, I am not going to do the scar on my back. This way we are comparing apples to apples.

That was six months ago. As I did before, I applied emu oil and coconut oil to the scar as soon as the bandages came off. Additionally, this year I began wet shaving with a double edge razor rather than the electric I had used for the past decades. I mention that because once I was allowed to shave again (about two weeks after the operation), I found that I nicked myself on the scar several times. That probably didn’t help the healing process much. On the other hand, I would use aloe vera on my face after shaving along with the emu oil and coconut oil. So, perhaps I had extra regenerative work going on.

What is the result? You can see for yourself below. The first photo was taken as soon as the bandages came off, about a week after the surgery.

I had to keep the dressing on for over a week, so this is the first time I could see it after the operation in September 2014.

I had to keep the dressing on for over a week, so this is the first time I could see it after the operation in September 2014.

Below is the second photo which my girlfriend shot this afternoon.

By my reckoning, this is an impressive healing over the course of six months

By my reckoning, this is an impressive healing over the course of six months.

I am very impressed with this healing. Remember, I am not a kid. I turned 75 in January of this year. So, I don’t heal like a youngster.

I would be interested in hearing about any similar experience that you might have had.

Tony

4 Comments

Filed under hiding a facial scar, Mohs surgery, Skin cancer surgery

How Do You Get Healthier Skin? – Infographic

The most interesting aspect of this infographic about healthier skin is that everything on it is just plain good for you. I don’t know a lot of people that combine nutrition and their skin.

I have had three operations to remove skin cancer from my body, but have never considered my diet as contributing to that. It was just sun exposure.

Maybe that’s a girl thing. I am an old guy, so understandably out of it, if that is the case. In any event, whether you have ever thought about what you were eating might or might not be good for your skin, trust me, everything on this post is good for you.

3e0fd9eb840533300bb97c9f9bcfc016

Leave a comment

Filed under healthy skin, skin cancer, Skin cancer surgery

One Month After My Two Skin Cancer Surgeries

One September 11, a month ago, I had a basal cell carcinoma removed from my face and another one removed from my back.The facial incision extends an inch and a half while the one on my back stretches to three inches. I have spent the past month recovering from those surgeries.

I was a good patient and did not ride my bike for the first two weeks after the operation. Actually, I was surprised that I did not even have the energy to take the bike out in that period. I was also taking a round of antibiotics to protect the two wounds.

Wilford Hall team treats ENT patients in Honduras
I started riding again after two weeks, but on a very restricted basis. I rode less than 10 miles on each of my first two days compared with a usual of 20 miles a day.

For the first three weeks after the surgeries I napped from one to two hours a day in addition to a full night’s sleep. So, my body was clearly in recovery mode.

At this point, a month later, I feel that I am about 80 to 85 per cent recovered. I am able to ride 20 miles a day although it is in two sections of around 10 miles each. I no longer need to nap.

In the past month I have added about a pound to my body weight. I think my appetite was curtailed from the procedures, too. My resting heart rate remains in the low 40s.

In summary, I consider myself well along on the road to recovery. I went into the operations a healthy
74 year old man and I am now finding my way back. I hope these details about the operations and my recovery have been of some value to you. I was surprised at how much they took out of me.

In talking about my skin cancer experience, I have been amazed at how many people have direct experience with it. To read more on the subject, check out my page: Skin cancer facts in general and my three skin cancer surgeries in particular.

Tony

4 Comments

Filed under biking, cancer, Exercise, skin cancer

Cancer Diagnosis Can Take Toll on Mental Health

The most common mental disorders affecting cancer patients were anxiety disorders and adjustment disorders, according to the study. Adjustment disorders occur when a person cannot cope with a life crisis, and are unable to function on a daily basis or maintain relationships with those around them, Mehnert said.

Cooking with Kathy Man

One out of three people diagnosed with cancer also wind up struggling with a mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression, a new study from Germany reports.

Many people seem to cope with the natural stress of a cancer diagnosis, but for about 32 percent of cancer patients, the diagnosis may prompt a full-blown psychological disorder, said study lead author Anja Mehnert, a professor of psychosocial oncology at the University of Leipzig in Germany.

That’s much higher than the 20 percent mental disorder rate of the general population, she said. It’s important to note that although the study strongly links cancer and a mental health disorders, it wasn’t designed to prove that having cancer directly caused any mental health disorders.

“[Our] findings reinforce that, as doctors, we need to be very aware of signs and symptoms of mental and emotional distress,” Mehnert said. “We must encourage patients to seek…

View original post 581 more words

1 Comment

Filed under breast cancer, cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer

Three Weeks After Skin Cancer Surgery

I went back to the doctor this week to have the stitches removed from my back. That pretty much brought my third surgery to closure (pun intended).

To summarize, this go ’round with skin cancer was much stronger than my previous one, two years ago. In each instance I had a basal cell carcinoma removed. Two years ago, I had one growth cut out and ended up with about 15 stitches in my cheek. This time I had one removed from my cheek and another from my back. I had 15 stitches in my cheek again, but more than double that in my back. The facial scar is about 1.5 inches long while the one on my back extends to three inches. So, there was more cutting this time and as a result my body had a lot more healing to do.

Blazing+Hot+Sun

Two years ago I was riding my bike within five days of the surgery. In contrast, this year, I did not have the energy to ride for two full weeks. Then, when I returned to riding, I felt a lack of power in my legs which tired easily.

This year, I napped nearly every day for the first two weeks. Good naps that extended an hour and sometimes two. Clearly my body craved downtime.

In my third week, I have commenced riding again, but can feel limited by my condition. I am taking it slow. I rode around seven miles the first day and went up to 10 on the second. At the end of the third week I managed 20 miles today, but it was in two rides. I don’t think I could have done it in one bite. The good news is that I didn’t feel the urge to nap today. Last, but not least, I added one and a half pounds in the past three weeks with my sedentary recovery. I have no worries about burning that off going forward.

I feel that my life is coming back into its own now in terms of energy, if on a slow pace.

Since my first surgery I have been amazed at how many people I know have suffered from skin cancer in one form or another. If you would like to learn more about this important subject, I just put together a Page recounting my surgeries as well as general facts about it. Check out Skin Cancer Facts in General and My Three Skin Cancer Surgeries in Particular.

Remember, as my dermatologist said, “There is no such thing as a healthy tan.”

Tony

 

Leave a comment

Filed under skin cancer, Skin cancer surgery, sunburn, sunlight

What About Life After Skin Cancer Surgery?

I had Mohs surgery Wednesday to remove a basal cell carcinoma on my cheek and another one on my back. I wrote about this being my second skirmish with skin cancer a couple of weeks ago. You can read about it if you want the details.

This is how Mohs surgery works.

This is how Mohs surgery works.

Yesterday was the first day of the rest of my life. The operations took three hours, but at least one hour of that was waiting time. In Mohs surgery, they remove a section of skin and then take it back to the lab to see that they got all the cancer out. If they did they sew you back up. If not, they remove some more skin and go back to the lab for another look. For my two growths, they got it all the first time on my cheek, but had to go back in for a second cut on my back.

My girlfriend met me at the hospital about halfway through the procedure and then we went to lunch to celebrate my being cancer-free. The condemned man ate a hearty meal. It was a great relief to be finished with cancer for now and, hopefully, forever. Remember, I had two fresh wounds on me with at least a dozen stitches in each. I went home, walked the dog and then crashed for two hours.

They gave me a sheet of do’s and don’t’s to protect my stitches. I can not drink alcohol because it thins the blood and may contribute to post operative bleeding. The following is underlined: Avoid strenuous exercise which raises your blood pressure, as well as bending and lifting  that causes your muscles and skin to pull, which may interfere with wound healing.

As regular readers know, I don’t smoke and I advise strongly against it. Here is what the post operation sheet says – Avoid smoking. Smoking reduces the blood supply to healing stitch lines and drastically worsens the appearance of the scar.

I drove 15 miles to the riverboat yesterday for some non-taxing video poker. That certainly wouldn’t strain any muscles. I was surprised to learn that within a half hour, I was v e r y tired. I cut my visit short and found myself worried about falling asleep on the short drive home. I even considered a different route that would keep me off expressways. Long story short, I made it home all right, but took a big nap that ate up the afternoon.

I was low energy the rest of the day, had a light meal and watched a football game from the weekend on my DVR. Went to bed early.

I am writing this Friday morning, I am still low energy after a full night’s sleep. I am not in any way ready to resume riding my bike yet. I feel funny not having any rides or other exercise, but my body doesn’t seem to mind it at all. I listen to my body. First things first.

This is clearly a one day at a time deal.

Tony

2 Comments

Filed under cancer, Mohs surgery, skin cancer

First Rate Tips on Preventing Skin Cancer – ADA

Much of the country is suffering under extreme heat as the summer takes its time drawing to a close. So, many of us are playing and laboring under a hot sun.

Last week I wrote about my second skirmish with skin cancer so the subject is near if not dear to me.

The power of the sun can be brilliant as you can see in this presunrise shot of the Chicago Lakefront. That doesn't mean the UV rays can't be cancerous.

The power of the sun can be brilliant as you can see in this presunrise shot of the Chicago Lakefront. That doesn’t mean the UV rays can’t be cancerous. Wear protection.

Here are some tips from the American Dermatological Association that my doctor gave me. I hope you will pick up something useful from them and avoid going under the knife as I must on September 10.

The ADA brochure stated:

Sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for all skin cancers. Here is what you can do:
*Generously apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or more to all skin not covered by clothing. “Broad-spectrum” provides protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Reapply approximately every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.
*Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses, where possible.
*Seek shade when appropriate. Remember that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. If your shadow appears to be shorter than you are, seek shade.

*Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand because they reflect and intensify the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chances of sunburn.
*Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that may include vitamin supplements. Don’t seek the sun.
*Avoid tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want to look tan, consider using a self-tanning product or spray, but continue to use sunscreen with it.

Tony

Leave a comment

Filed under cancer, skin cancer

I Have a Second Skirmish With Skin Cancer

As regular readers know I contracted skin cancer two years ago this month. I have included the links to the posts I wrote at the time and inserted them in the final paragraph if you would want the details.

This year our local hospital Northwestern Memorial offered free skin cancer screenings, so my girlfriend and I went on June 18. We each learned that we had a couple of ‘bad’ spots that needed to be removed for a biopsy. My girlfriend got her biopsies done last month and both came back negative for cancer. I had to wait a couple of weeks because I was using a new dermatologist. I had my two trouble spots removed last week and I got the results yesterday. Not good. Each was a basal cell carcinoma – BCC. Skin cancer. Again.

Don't be fooled by this smiling face. His rays are deadly.

Don’t be fooled by this smiling face. His rays are deadly.

As I wrote last year, “The Skin Cancer Foundation says that BCCs are abnormal uncontrolled growths that arise in the skin’s basal cells, which line the deepest layer of our skin. Usually caused by a combination of UltraViolet exposure. The good (?) news is that they rarely spread.

“There are an estimated 2.8 million cases of BCC diagnosed in the U.S. each year. In fact, it is the most frequently occurring form of all cancers. More than one out of every three new cancers are skin cancers, and the vast majority are BCCs. It shouldn’t be taken lightly ….”

For the record, after my surgery of August 2012, I practiced ‘safe sun’ with the zeal of a reformed whore. I bought several sunblocks, always the ‘broad spectrum’ variety that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Often when riding my bike I would wear a white long sleeved shirt to protect my arms from the rays. So, I was disappointed to learn that the spot on my face and the one on my back are both cancerous. I guess, on the positive side, I did not have more of them. I would like to think that my efforts to avoid skin cancer had some good effects. Also, each one is about half the size of the tumor I had removed two years ago.

I have booked my Mohs surgery for next month. On September 10 I will go back under the knife.

Here’s what the Skin Cancer Foundation says about Mohs Surgery: “What is Mohs surgery? It is the excision of a cancer from the skin, followed by the detailed mapping and complete microscopic examination of the cancerous tissue and the margins surrounding it. If the margins are indeed cancer-free, the surgery is ended. If not, more tissue is removed, and this procedure is repeated until the margins of the final tissue examined are clear of cancer.”

This is what happens in Mohs surgery. They take more than a layer.

This is what happens in Mohs surgery. They take more than a layer.

The cure rate of the Mohs technique is 99 percent, considerably higher than other methods.”

Here are the links for my first cancer posts: Do I Have Skin Cancer? What Did I Learn After Being Diagnosed with Skin Cancer? What Happened During My Skin Cancer Surgery?

Following are further posts on the subject for you: Important Facts About Skin Cancer, What You Need for May – Skin Cancer Awareness Month.

Tony

Leave a comment

Filed under cancer, Mohs surgery, skin cancer