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Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

When it comes to skin cancer, pictures are worth a thousand words

Senior citizens, the most frequent victims of skin cancer, need to be aware of how to identify dangerous melanoma skin cancers before the spread

Aug 2, 2013 - Seeing pictures of skin cancer motivates people to regularly check their own moles, according to a new research paper from the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo. Senior citizens – men in particular – are the most likely to develop the most deadly of skin cancers – melanomas.

The paper, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, found that visual images of skin cancer are most effective in prompting skin self-examinations.

“Visual images capture our attention and are persuasive. They also help us to learn and remember,” said Professor Laurie Hoffman-Goetz, of the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences and co-author on the paper.  

The systematic review found that exposure to images of skin cancer motivated people to check their skin more frequently and accurately. The study found that providing text descriptions alone were not effective in aiding skin self-examination.

“Images motivate health behaviors in ways text does not,” said Jennifer McWhirter, a PhD candidate funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and co-author on the paper.

The paper’s findings could help inform patient education strategies and public health communication efforts.

“Skin self-examination plays an important role in detecting melanoma early. Many cases of melanoma are first detected by patients themselves,” said McWhirter.

“Incorporating images into clinical practice when educating patients can be a powerful tool in the fight against skin cancer.” said Professor Hoffman-Goetz.

 

Related Archive Stories

 
 

Nobody Should Die from Advanced-Stage Melanoma, Says Leading Researcher

Tide is turning in skin cancer battle with more than 100 promising drugs for blocking cancer-causing signaling pathways

July 16, 2013

Fast Acting Virus Kills Melanoma Cancer Cells Before Immune System Can Stop It

Melanoma killer has been highly efficient attacking human cancer cells in animals, lab tests, while ignoring healthy ones

April 23, 2013

See more links below news report.


 
 

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Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in North America. In Canada, there are expected to be 6,000 new cases of melanoma--the most dangerous kind of skin cancer - and more than 81,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer this year alone.

Information on the early detection of skin cancer, including skin self-examination with example images, can be accessed through the American Academy of Dermatology website.

About the University of Waterloo

In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada's technology hub, has become one of Canada's leading comprehensive universities with 35,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Waterloo, as home to the world's largest post-secondary co-operative education program, embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. In the next decade, the university is committed to building a better future for Canada and the world by championing innovation and collaboration to create solutions relevant to the needs of today and tomorrow. For more information about Waterloo, please visit www.uwaterloo.ca.

Links to More Archived Stories on Melanoma Cancer

About Melanoma

Melanoma is a form of cancer that begins in melanocytes (cells that make the pigment melanin). It may begin in a mole (skin melanoma), but can also begin in other pigmented tissues, such as in the eye or in the intestines.

About 76,250 men and women (44,250 men and 32,000 women) were expected to be diagnosed with and 9,180 men and women to die of melanoma of the skin in 2012.

From 2005-2009, the median age at diagnosis for melanoma of the skin was 61 years of age.

Approximately 0.6% were diagnosed under age 20; 6.8% between 20 and 34; 10.7% between 35 and 44; 18.2% between 45 and 54; 21.6% between 55 and 64; 18.8% between 65 and 74; 16.7% between 75 and 84; and 6.6% 85+ years of age.

The age-adjusted incidence rate was 21.0 per 100,000 men and women per year.

US Mortality

From 2005-2009, the median age at death for melanoma of the skin was 68 years of age. Approximately 0.1% died under age 20; 2.6% between 20 and 34; 5.6% between 35 and 44; 13.5% between 45 and 54; 19.9% between 55 and 64; 21.2% between 65 and 74; 24.1% between 75 and 84; and 12.9% 85+ years of age.

The age-adjusted death rate was 2.7 per 100,000 men and women per year. These rates are based on patients who died in 2005-2009 in the US.

Lifetime Risk

Based on rates from 2007-2009, 1.99% of men and women born today will be diagnosed with melanoma of the skin at some time during their lifetime. This number can also be expressed as 1 in 50 men and women will be diagnosed with melanoma of the skin during their lifetime. These statistics are called the lifetime risk of developing cancer.

Sometimes it is more useful to look at the probability of developing melanoma of the skin between two age groups. For example, 0.99% of men will develop melanoma of the skin between their 50th and 70th birthdays compared to 0.60% for women

Prevalence

On January 1, 2009, in the United States there were approximately 876,344 men and women alive who had a history of melanoma of the skin - 427,810 men and 448,534 women.

>> See the online booklet What You Need To Know About™ Melanoma and Other Skin Cancers

>> Melanoma home page at American Cancer Society

>> Melanoma Home Page at National Cancer Institute

>> Melanoma at Wikipedia

>> American Academy of Dermatology

Immune System Uses Melanoma's Own Proteins to Kill Off Cancer Cells, Researchers Say

Transfer of cancer building cells to immune system provides crucial intelligence about the attacking cancer, which facilitates the right defense to kill the cancer - Feb. 4, 2013

Earlier Detection of Cancer May Be Enhanced by MIT Discovery with Biomarkers Collected in Urine

Nanoparticles amplify tumor signals, making them much easier to detect in urine - Dec. 17, 2012

Small Test Shows Treatment’s Potential to Stop Spread of Melanoma Cancer

Treatment uses drug believed capable of stimulating a patient’s immune system into attacking cancer cells while sparing healthy normal tissue - Nov. 16, 2012

How Melanoma Skin Cancer Can Resist Chemotherapy is Discovered

Study results suggest new approach to treating most deadly skin cancer - Sept. 17, 2012

Discovery of Biomarker for Deadly Melanoma Skin Cancer Offers New Hope

Researchers were able to reverse melanoma growth in pre-clinical studies  - Sept. 13, 2012

Melanoma Skin Cancer May Be More Treatable with New Discovery

Average age of melanoma diagnosis is 61; over 9,000 expected to die in 2012 - more about this skin cancer below news report - Aug. 15, 2012

Secret to Melanoma Cancer’s Resistance to Treatment Exposed - Hope for Seniors

After melanoma removed from head...Researchers say they have found why treatment is difficult and may have answer for turning this around - July 23, 2012


Aspirin, Painkillers Ward Off Skin Cancer; Second Study Lets Immune System Stop Melanoma

NSAIDs decreased risk for squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma; advanced melanoma patients see scientist lower cancer barrier to allow immune system attack - May 29, 2012


Early Success in Curing Melanoma in Mice Spurs Mayo Vaccine Development

Success with melanoma adds to Mayo Clinic's growing portfolio of experimental cancer vaccines - March 19, 2012


New Therapies May Mean More Life for Patients with Advanced Melanoma

Two new drugs, vemurafenib (Zelboraf) and ipilimumab (Yervoy), showing promise in slowing the progression of this skin cancer - March 16, 2012


Metastatic Melanoma Patients Live Almost Twice as Long with New Drug

Zelboraf (vemurafenib) changes the natural history of the disease to extend survival - see video - Feb. 23, 2012


Cancer Survivors Face Increased Risk of Melanoma; Melanoma Survivors Even More

Melanoma the most aggressive, dangerous skin cancer, fifth most common cancer among men, seventh among women - Dec. 19, 2011


Pre-Melanoma Skin Lesion Found Mostly in Elderly Successfully Removed with Laser

Lentigo maligna disappears as carbon dioxide laser exerts its effect by vaporization of water-containing cells - Nov. 21, 2011


Coffee, Favorite Drink of Seniors, Provides Protection from Basal Cell Carcinoma

Women get almost twice as much protection as men among 3-cup a day drinkers - see video - Oct. 26, 2011


Senior Citizens Facing Melanoma Should Worry More About Their Health Than Their Age

Patients with lower muscle density had much higher rates of their cancer returning – regardless of the tumor size or patient's age - Aug. 30, 2011


Vitamin D Appears Linked With Risk of Skin Cancer, Although Relationship Complex

Study looked at vitamin D level in senior citizens with non-melanoma skin cancers - Aug. 15, 2011


Melanoma Skin Cancer a Chronic Disease Causing Long-Term Problems for Women

Women need additional care, including follow-up and possibly counseling to optimally cope with melanoma - Feb. 21, 2011

 

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