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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

PSA: please wear sunscreen

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This isn't food related, but I felt compelled to post about it. I don't really know how old any of you are, but I don't think it really matters....

I'm posting because I wanted to raise awareness about melanoma - the deadliest form of skin cancer. Sarah, someone whom I know only virtually, but whom I've been in contact with for several years, is dying of melanoma.

She's a young, beautiful, formerly healthy woman. And she absolutely doesn't deserve this. She's only 28. Cancer is not only the disease of the elderly.

Please read her story here: . The last few updates are from her husband, as she's been too ill to post. time you think a little colour might look good...please rethink that. And slap on some broad spectrum sunscreen (look for something that says UVA/UVB on the label). And reapply it liberally.

Wouldn't you rather give your money to sunscreen companies than to cancer pharmaceuticals?

Melanoma is the leading cause of cancer death in women between the ages of 25 and 29. And there's a lot you can do to prevent it. SO PLEASE STOP TANNING. IT'S RIDICULOUS. Embrace your natural skin colour. It's healthy. Tanning causes wrinkles and premature aging.

I just read a whole bunch of posts by brides, tanning for the big day. And it absolutely makes me SICK. You don't need a tan. You don't need a base tan. If you must have colour, try self-tanners. But with all the nebulous causes of cancer out there, do you really need to add another one?

Thanks. MBR out. And wear your freaking sunscreen.


Anonymous said...


I was wondering if you were going to blog about this...I am glad that you did. It's just too damn sad not to think about.

Hopefully, people start thinking before hitting the tanning beds or the beach to get "some color".

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing and caring-very sad.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree and this touches me deeply because my brother had melanoma (I believe he had level 3 or 4) when he was thirteen. He's also had another since then (he's currently 22) and while he is currently in remission, he has to go back regularly for check-ups. My mother recently had a melanoma removed, and I have had eight moles removed, two of which had cancerous cells.

It makes me sick to see people getting sunburned or trying to tan. They always think it won't happen to them, but you can just never possibly know that. My brother's was on his back, which was crazy because he always wore a shirt. My mother's was on her left arm, which we think was caused by her being in the passenger's seat of the car all the time and getting the sun on it (we're in Australia).

I'm going to go read Sarah's story. It's tragic, and every day I am thankful that I still have my mother and brother with me. When my brother was really not doing well, I tried to cheer mum up by saying "He's not going to die though, is he?" and I will always remember the look she gave me as she said, "I honestly don't know, love."

Wear sunscreen.
Wear a hat.
Wear clothing to protect yourself.

I get so angry when I see babies and toddlers walking around in the sun without hats on. It's the parent's responsibility to ensure their children are sun-smart, especially when their children are too young to understand the concept of getting sunburned, and skin cancer. I read somewhere that the majority of permanent skin damage is done before the age of 10. That's terrifying.

I'm sorry ... this turned into a rant. I guess it's really close to home, and I was so happy to read your post and see that others are aware of the damage the sun can do, and are urging those who aren't aware, or who just don't care, to wear sunscreen and protect themselves.


Anonymous said...

Just adding to my above novel (sorry), I've been looking up the survival rates for the levels and although I am 99% sure my mum said it was level 3, I'm now unsure because I was twelve at the time and unfortunately the survival rate doesn't look so good. I'll check with Mum next time I talk with her. I do know that it was definitely life-threatening and touch-and-go for a while. I think I've scared myself looking up the statistics ... I don't like to think of my brother being in one of those groups. :(

Anonymous said...

I agree. I have been reading sarah's blog as well, and I'm heartbroken for her and her family. Thank you for posting this

leslie @ definitely not martha said...

Thanks so much for your posts. It means a lot.

anonymous - I hope the tide will turn into thinking that tan is NOT healthy. My Dad lives in Thailand and over there, they cover up like mad. We should be more like them.

ellen - thank you for posting. It's incredibly sad.

katie - I'm thankful I get comments emailed to me, because yours was way easier to read in email. I'm so sorry you've had to go through this with your's heartbreaking. And it's so important to be vigilant about things like this. The australian sun must be pretty intense - I guess I should consider myself lucky here then. It's only really warm enough to sun oneself here for about two months of the year. I am always slathered up in SPF 15 on a daily basis (when I'm not outside). I wear SPF30 if I'm at something like a backyard BBQ, or a patio lunch, and if I'm going to the beach, it's all about SPF50 and cover ups and shade. I love the feel of the warm sun, but I can't relax unless I'm confident that I'm protected. I love Coppertone Spectra3 SPF50. I never burn with it (and I burn tremendously easily, as a fair-haired brunette). Thanks so much for sharing your story. Most melanoma is cured.....but only if it's caught. We can't overemphasize the importance of checking our bodies for signs of change.

anonymous - thanks. I have no idea how the readership of my blog compares to Sarah, but I figure with about 200 people checking it a day, hopefully I"ll at least get the word out a bit. I'm so upset about this.

B said...

thanks for posting this :) As a recent bride myself, I was so sick of reading about all these other brides talking about tanning. I am about as pastey white as they come and hate that tanning is such a fashion statement. Do I want to look like a tanned goddess?..yes!! Am I willing to risk getting cancer to become one?!!! If we all embraced our inner pastey-ness, then people would not feel compelled to bake themselves in the sun or tanning bed and this kind of cancer could be kicked to the curb.

I'm really sorry for your friend :( And applaud your efforts at trying to raise awareness! Thanks :)

Marlene said...

Here, here!!!!!!

Future Mommy said...

I live in quite a hot area myself and I see people all the time tanning like crazy I wish people were more sun alert its a big thing, how can you live in a hot place and not be tanned? I myself have to remember to be more responsible with applying the sunscreen. Thanks so much for posting this, it really makes people think.

Mia said...

People think I am strange for wearing sunscreen year round. But I am very fair and burn. But having worn sunscreen all my life means that I have lowered my risk and my skin has not aged.

I used to spend a lot of time on the river and people thought I was crazy for my SPF 35 and 50 until a rafter who was about 22 told the group that he had had 2 cancerous spots removed that winter. People do not realize until it to late.

Anonymous said...

Hey L-
Can you ask your poeple about a good facial sunscreen- you know my skin... something oil free etc. Have tried coppertone faces and aveeno face- and both made me break out. Almosrt makes me wish I had a job where I could work inside...
Still reading your thing. Makes G-town a little more bearable


Anonymous said...

THANK YOU for talking about this... especially as we are going into prime sun season. I am embarrassed when I get a burn - what a reckless thing to do!!

For your friend who is looking for sunscreen: I also have very sensitive skin and tend to break out. I had been using Neutrogena MOisture SPF 15 oil-free - I was quite pleased - good stuff, never broke out. Now that I am more concerned, I am using Lancome Bienfait multi-vital teinté - it's SPF 30, goes on great, and I don't break out.

Bring on the hats!

leslie @ definitely not martha said...

brooke - thanks. I too get a little frustrated with people who think that a good tan is the be all and end all of physical perfection. Meh.

marlene - thanks for the comment!

little chef - it must be hard to be in more of a sun worshipping place. I'm actually peeved to say I got a touch of burn on Sat. We ended up having sausages at a cart (well, I had a veggie dog), and that TEN minutes in a tank top burnt my shoulder! I'm so mad because I had SPF50 on my face that day, but didn't think to put it on my arms before going shopping. GRRRRRRR.

mia - it's funny how when you raise the topic of skin cancer and sun damage, it comes out that very surprising groups of people have been affected by it. As I said in my post, it's not only the disease of the elderly....

Shannon - I wish I could help you - I would have suggested the Aveeno face. Your job poses a lot tougher demands than most. Have you tried coppertone sport? I like that one because it stays in place if you get hot and sticky and I haven't had problems with breakouts. Another one to try is maybe Ombrelle? It stains clothes, but seems to be pretty gentle. Have you tried a physical block (zinc, etc.) instead of a chemical one? They block more rays anyway. Hope things in G-town aren't too crappy. Let me know when you're back in town!!!!!!

Kelly - I felt like a supah-stah this weekend in my dorky pink, wide-rimmed sunhat. But hey, at least the only fraction of my body with a burn is the portion of my arm mentioned above. I guess I shall live with that. That and my eternal pallor.


Thanks for posting everyone!

Anonymous said...

Shannon - I also have oily skin and problems with breaking out and I use a sunscreen from Clinique called City Block although it is a little pricey I think it's well worth it.

MBR - I am an avid reader of your blog and I wanted to say keep up the good work

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