Rising melanoma rates in young women: can green tea really help?
by Stacy D. Tompkins, M.D.
There’s no doubt that melanoma is an epidemic in our nation, and with rising rates of tanning bed use, the concerns over skin cancer have escalated among medical experts. In a recent study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),melanoma rates in the Unites States have increased tremendously among young women between the ages 18 and 21 with frequent tanning bed use to blame.
And although the International Agency for Research on Cancer categorized indoor tanning as a carcinogen in 2009, many young women –an estimated 28 million — still flock to tanning salons every year. Indoor UV tanners are 74% more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never tanned indoors. Frequent tanners using the newer high-pressure lamps may get as much as 12 times the annual UVA dose compared to what they get from natural sun.
It comes as no surprise then to learn that dermatologists in San Diego recommend avoiding tanning salons and the regular use of daily sunscreen with a high SPF factor to combat the effects of sun damage and reduce the risk for melanoma.
But for those already diagnosed with melanoma, there may be up-and-coming research that gives us hope for those already fighting the battle with skin cancer.
Green tea to treat melanoma?
We already know about the positive health effects of green tea, but a recent study points to another groundbreaking benefit. A chemical known asepigallocatechingallate (EGCg),an extract derived from green tea, may help treat two types of skin cancer.
Researchers focused on the treatment of two different types of skin cancers, epidermoid carcinoma and melanoma, including the potential treatment that EGCg may have on both types of cancers. Epidermoid carcinoma is characterized by scale-like formations on the surface of the skin, while melanoma often develops as unevenly-colored, abnormally-shaped growths on the skin.
According to The Huffington Post, scientists at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow found that not only does EGCghelp to shrink or remove two-thirds of cancerous cells, it also has no known side effects on other cells or tissues. Originally published in the medical journal Nanomedicine, scientists created a cell with EGCg and transferrin (a naturally occurring protein that binds to the surface of cancer cells), and applied it directly to tumours. In both studies, 40% of tumours vanished; 30% of tumours in epidermoid carcinoma cases shrank considerably; and 20% of melanoma cases dwindled following the green tea treatment.
While the Green Tea study will continue to make headlines with further research, there’s no better way to arm oneself against melanoma than to stay protected with good SPF coverage and a set of clothing arsenal like hats and cover-ups when heading to sunny spots like the park and beach.
In other words, the best route to stay safe against melanoma is to be preventative. Those who think they may be affected by early signs of melanoma should immediately talk to a dermatologist in San Diego about accepted treatment options including biopsy, surgical excision and possible Mohs surgery. The Mohs Micrographic Surgery has a cure rate up to 99 percent for the most common forms of skin cancer with less scarring. For the highest potential for complete eradication of malignant skin tumors on the face, ears, or scalp, ask about Mohs Micrographic Surgery at our La Jolla office.
More facts on skin cancer
With the staggering number of tanning bed users, it may come as no surprise that the United States is highly affected by skin cancer, particularly melanoma, according to the American Cancer Society.
In its most recent estimate, the ACS maintained that about 76,250 new melanomas will be diagnosed this year, with incidence rates continuing to rise for both men and women. Approximately 9,180 people are expected to die of melanoma this year in the United States.
Diagnosing and treating melanoma
If you have concerns about your skin health, it’s never been more important to speak to a dermatologist in San Diego today. As an expert in melanoma treatment, I can help you pave a route to better skin care starting with proper sun protection first. And if you have any concerns over what could potentially be melanoma, seeking medical help as soon as possible could save your life. Early diagnosis and treatment are critically important to those who suspect they may be affected by melanoma cancer. Call our office at (858) 454-4300 or visit us at http://www.ncdermatology.com/ and schedule your consultation today.
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