New Study: Melanoma More of a Threat to Older Men

Many people are making it more of a priority to use sunscreen than ever before. However, according to a new study, melanoma is becoming a more noticeable threat to older men. You may think it is because their skin is more susceptible to sun damage, but it is actually because they are less likely than […]


Take These Tips to Heart

At the heart of good health is living healthy. We all have to stay in shape, make smart choices and ward off health issues, but sometimes it isn’t as easy as it seems. This USAToday article has six tips on how to live a heart-healthy life from the American Heart Association. Check it out and […]


Obesity Could Affect 42% of Americans by 2030

Despite the efforts to help people become more aware of the risks of being overweight, obesity is on the rise. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese. In 2009, Colorado was the healthiest state, and in less than a year, we lost the […]


Safety Tips for Hot Summer Days

Who doesn’t love a hot summer day? Unfortunately, those hot days can be problematic unless precautions are taken. According to National Weather Center, heat kills more people in the U.S. than any other weather related incidents. Every year we see an average temperature rise of one degree and this year it bumped up 10 degrees […]


Knowledge is Power

July is nationally known as “Skin Cancer Awareness Month”.  I would like to some share some important aspects I’ve learned about skin cancer since my husband was diagnosed and later died of melanoma skin cancer 13 years ago.
What is Skin Cancer?
*Most common form of cancer in the U.S.
*Rarely lethal if caught early—highly preventable.
*Skin Cancer is where skin cells have DNA damage by dividing uncontrollably. A tumor cell may invade surrounding tissue and metastasize (spread) to vital organs throughout the body.  DNA damage is mainly caused by UV radiation from over-exposure to the sun or by tanning beds. 
There are 3 Main Types of  Skin Cancer
1) Basal Cell Carcinoma
          -Most common form of skin cancer.
-Red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps may appear on sun-exposed areas.
          -Precancerous lesions arise in the skin’s basal cells.
-Generally does not spread throughout the body.
-Found in long-term sun-exposed areas.
-28 million cases annually.
2) Squamous Cell Carcinoma
          -Second most common form of skin cancer.
          -Red patches, open sores, wart-like lesions.
          -Found in long-term sun-exposed areas.
          -More likely to spread if not detected early; can be disfiguring.
          -700,000 cases annually.
3) Melanoma
-Begins as a mole (but not always) on back, legs, hands, fingers, soles of  feet/toes, eyes, and other areas of non-exposed sun.
          -Most lethal and aggressive form of skin cancer.
          -Can be treated successfully if detected early.
          -Associated with periods of intense sun exposure such as sunburns.
          -Originates in melanocyte cells.
          -Can be genetic.
          -Kills an estimated 8,790 people annually.
How long does it take before a sunburn begins?
*15-20 minutes of intense sun on unprotected skin before skin turns red and damage begins.
*Sunburns literally cook the protein off  the skin,” stated Zoe Draelos, MD, Wake Forest, University School of  Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
*Bottom Line-When outside, never seek a tan, nor a sunburn. A suntan or sunburn can result in DNA damage which can cause skin cancer to begin.
What is the best way to use sunscreen?
*Always use SPF 30 or higher with UVA/UVB(Ultraviolet Radiation) Broad Spectrum.
                   UVA Rays-Can cause lasting skin damage, skin aging, and skin cancer.
                   UVB Rays –Can cause sunburns, skin damage, and skin cancer.
                   SPF 30-Prevents reddening of the skin 30 times longer (about 5 hours).
*Despite conflicting reports about sunscreen safety, research has proven sunscreen products are safe and effective when used properly.
*Wearing sunscreen daily reduces your risk of skin cancer by 50%.
*Ideally, apply sunscreen 15-20 before sun exposure.
*Reapply every 2 hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
*Keep newborns out of the sun—Use sunscreen on babies over 6 months old.
What about tanning beds?
*Just four visits to a tanning salon per year, increases your risk of skin cancer by 15%.
*One of the most dangerous cancer-causing substances.
*Ten minutes of being in a tanning bed has the same cancer-causing effects as 10 minutes in the hot afternoon sun.
*Nearly 30 million people use tanning beds; 2.3 million are teens.
*On an average day, more than one million people use a tanning salon.
“It’s Not ‘JUST’ Skin Cancer….It Can Kill You!”
-Chelsea, age 26 –Melanoma Patient
**For more information about melanoma or the Bill Walter Melanoma Research Fund, please visit www.rayz-awareness.org or e-mail Kathy at mebeski@comcast.net.
*Resource-The Skin Cancer Foundation, www.skincare.org
Kathy Walter lives in Ft. Collins, Colorado with her 2 teenagers; Austin, age 18, and Katherine, age 15.  She became widowed after her husband, Bill Walter, died from Stage 4 Melanoma in 1998 at the age of 36.  Since Bill’s death, she has been an advocate for sun safety and skin cancer prevention by becoming an event organizer for the “RayZ Awareness of Melanoma 5K Walk/Run” fundraising events held in Ft. Collins. Kathy has also become an outreach educator by developing a melanoma sun-safety interactive educational board that has been used in the 9Health Fair in the Classroom and the community 9Health Fair programs. She has visited numerous health fairs throughout the Denver area for 10 years.  
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July is nationally known as “Skin Cancer Awareness Month”.  I would like to some share some important aspects I’ve learned about skin cancer since my husband was diagnosed and later died of melanoma skin cancer 13 years ago. What is Skin Cancer? *Most common form of cancer in the U.S. *Rarely lethal if caught early—highly […]


How is Your Healthy Swimming Knowledge?

With the recent scorching temperatures, the best way to cool down is to take a dip in the pool. It is, however, important to pay attention to how clean the water is and think about your health before jumping in. How well are you informed when it comes to healthy swimming? Take this 10 question […]


Don’t Be Blind to the Sun’s Effects

We are all aware of sun damage to our skin and have heard over and over about the importance of wearing sunscreen, but how often do we hear about protecting our eyes? A 2009 survey by the American Optometric Association found that 1 in 3 adults are unaware of the eye health risks of spending too much time in the sun without proper protection. Find out what kind of damage the sun can do to your eyes and how you should be protecting them. Do you and your family think about eye protection in the sun? Getting the care and information you need, when you need it, isn’t too much to ask. Share with us on Facebook because your voice matters.
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We are all aware of sun damage to our skin and have heard over and over about the importance of wearing sunscreen, but how often do we hear about protecting our eyes? A 2009 survey by the American Optometric Association found that 1 in 3 adults are unaware of the eye health risks of spending […]