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I'm a Jesus loving girl who is blessed with an amazing husband and two beautiful children. At the age of 23, while pregnant with my firstborn I noticed a dome shaped nodular area on my left hip. It started growing larger and eventually started bleeding. After the birth of my baby girl and my 24th birthday I decided to get the ugly bump checked. The result was Stage III nodular Malignant Melanoma that had extensions into my lymph nodes. I completed a year of Interferon chemotherapy. a year later I became pregnant with my second child. After his birth I developed two more melanoma primary tumors-- stage 1 2010, and stage 2 in 2011. Since then I have made it my mission to advocate and educate to bring about melanoma awareness in hopes that it could save others from this deadly disease. Thankfully, I am very healthy and doing very well! I have No Evidence of Disease and I'm showing Cancer Who's Boss by staying fit and healthy. I plan to blog about my adventures in running over cancer during training for my first Full marathon Fall 2014. Remember to love your skin, protect your skin, and check your skin. Share the love and spread the chemical-free lotion!

Monday, August 27, 2012

The UV War!

Hello Friends,

This past week while browsing through Facebook I noticed a  link on one of my Mela-sisters page that caught my eye.  You can click here to view the full article.  The article starts out by sharing quotes from a video made by the International Smart Tan Network.  It portrays a scene where a dermatologist is entering Heaven and God asks him what his good deeds are. The doctor responds "Well, as a dermatologist, I've been warning people that sunlight will kill them and that it is as deadly as smoking." God says, "You're saying that sunlight, which I created to keep you alive, give you vitamin D, and make you feel good, is deadly?  And the millions of dollars you received from chemical sunscreen companies had nothing to do with your blasphemy?"  Then God sends a bottle of 1000 spf sunscreen to the dermatologist's hand and says "you'll need that where you're going."

I don't know about you, but when I read the quotes from the video I found them very disturbing.  This is the kind of videos the tanning industry is using to train their staff.  Pretty Sick if you ask me!   Not only is the tanning industry trying to villianize  dermatologists,  oncologists, and other health related people but they are trying to create an image of a Mean God.  We don't enter heaven based on our good works but based on a relationship with an amazing Loving God who wants us to love Him back.  He wouldn't just throw us some sunscreen and cast us into hell. Secondly, yes God created the Sun but He did not create the tanning bed!  He also didn't create the years of damage to the ozone layer from pollution.  Now, don't get me wrong.  Please hear me out!  I'm not a sun hating person.  but I do despise tanning beds!!!  Lets not forget that UV radiation is a scientifically proved carcinogen.  One person dies every minute from melanoma.  I love the outdoors and I enjoy the sun but we must play it safe.  We can't just merely grab any type of sunscreen slather it on and be in the sun for  hours on end.  We must re-apply every two hrs, seek shade, wear chemical free sunscreen, wear sun protective clothing, and we must limit our time in the sun. I think the analogy of God creating the sun so it must be 100% safe is about like saying God created water which is something we need to survive so swim out in the deep as long as you want and its completely safe.  Not so!   Swim out in the deep long enough without a floatation device and you will tire and drown... or be eaten by a shark.  I remember a few years ago a lady trying to win a competition by drinking  too much water and she actually died!  Anyways I think the tanning industry has hit an all-time low by creating a video such as this!

In 2009 the World Health Organization and International Agency for Research on Cancer listed UV-emitting tanning devices as carcinogenic. Since then a lot of action has taken place through the AIM at Melanoma foundation and other organizations to make it illegal for teens 18 and under to use a tanning bed.  Teens make up the majority of tanning bed customers and the 4.9 billion dollar industry is suddenly scared of loosing business since implementing these new laws.  I would have more respect for them if they just posted on their walls a warning that this may lead to a lethal form of skin cancer called Melanoma and for people to use at their own risk. Instead of sharing the truth about the dangers of tanning they are spreading lies, lies and more lies. Sound familiar to anyone?  Think back to the tobacco companies.  The tanning bed is the cigarette of today and the UV War is on between the tanning industry, sun screen companies, and health agencies.  My question is Where's the Love?  and Where's the Truth?

If what the tanning industry is trying to say is true then the melanoma rate should be decreasing instead of increasing because there are more tanning salons than there are McDonalds. If what they are saying is true then I must be  a rare anomaly.  I layed in the sun  and I used the tanning bed in moderation I must add.  I actually never used sun screen and I developed stage III metastatic melanoma.  but the truth is I'm not a rare anomaly.  Melanoma is the leading cause of cancer death of women in their 20's.  Before the time of tanning beds, melanoma was only heard of in older males.  but now, thanks to tanning beds its become a young person's disease.  Please don't be fooled that laying in a tanning bed in moderation is safe.  It is scientifically proven that laying one time in the tanning bed increases your chances of deadly melanoma by 75%.

Now, let me get off my tanning bed soap box a moment and share one thing the tanning industry and I do agree on and that is to stay away from the chemical laced sunscreens!  I want to share a link to the Environmental Working Group which is an amazing site to browse for the best types of sunscreen and sun safety tips.  The EWG shared on their site that the FDA said they are not aware of any studies examining the effect of sunscreen use on the development of melanoma. The FDA also says there is no conclusive facts that Vitamin D prevents cancer.   The EWG stresses the fact that if you are going to use sunscreen please use a non chemical sunscreen and don't let sunscreen be your only means of protection.  I want to encourage SHADE, Sun protective CLOTHING, and limit your TIME in the sun.  Be careful to avoid the sun during peak UV hrs 10am-4pm.

 EWG's list of things to AVOID while searching for a good sunscreen:

  • Vitamin A- listed as "Retinyl Palmitate" on ingredient labels.  It causes skin cancer in lab tests because its photo-carcinogenic.  vitamin A is good to be ingested but not on sun exposed skin.
  • Oxybenzone- A synthetic Estrogen that penetrates the skin and contaminates the body.  It causes skin allergies and is a hormone disruptor.
  • High SPF- While this may sound good to use SPF 100 it gives you a false sense of protection.  Using 100 SPF may make you feel more protected than you really are and in turn cause a sunburn.

EWG's list of things to LOOK for while searching for a good sunscreen:

  • Active ingrdients- should be zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, mexoryl Sx or Avobenzone (3%)
  • SPF 30+
  • Lotions- not sprays (sprays can harm the lungs if not in a well ventilated area)
  • water resistant for beach or pools.
I want to end this post by saying I love you all and I don't want anyone to have to go through what I've been through.  Planning my life around my next dermatology, oncology, and scan appointments are not fun and quite expensive.  Not to mention the stress that comes from having advanced cancer.  Sure I'm showing no evidence of disease on my last scan but at any moment the beast could rear its ugly head just as it has with some of my fellow melanoma warriors.    I live with that fact daily and that is what compels me to make others aware of Melanoma and the dangers of tanning. I refuse to be a statistic and I live life to the fullest but because of those stats is why I see an oncologist every 3 months. The tanning industry may want war by spreading lies but I want to share the truth.  I know we have a long way to go in this war but I'm noticing more and more people embracing their natural skin tones.  You are all beautiful just the way you are and your skin will thank you for not damaging it in the years to come.  Keep up the good work!  Prevention is important but early detection is key to survival!  Make sure to do your monthly skin check by stripping down in front of a mirror and examine your skin for any unusual spots.  Don't forget to share the love and spread the lotion!  Much love and God bless each of you who read my blog.  

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