Posts Tagged ‘skin cancer’

Drinking Coffee Can Reduce Skin Cancer Risk

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Researchers report that instead of drinking your morning cup of coffee, spread it on your skin as a way of preventing harmful sun damage that leads to skin cancer. 

According to a new study, caffeine guards against certain skin cancers at the molecular level by inhibiting a protein enzyme in the skin.  The protein is known as ATR.  A report from the American Association for Critical Illness, cancer is a leading critical illness affecting millions of Americans annually.

Based on what scientists learned by studying mice, caffeine applied directly to the skin might help prevent damaging UV light from causing skin cancer.  Earlier research noted that mice fed caffeinated water and exposed to lamps that generated UVB radiation were able to kill off a greater percentage of their badly damaged cells and reduce the risk of cells becoming cancerous.

Jesse Slome, director of the critical illness insurance trade group explains that scientists have known that coffee drinking is associated with a decreased risk of non-melanoma skin cancer.  “There now needs to be studies to determine whether topical caffeine inhibits sunlight-induced skin cancer,” Slome states.

In this newly-published study, instead of inhibiting ATR with caffeinated water, researchers at the University of Washington, genetically modified and diminished ATR in one group of mice. They found that the genetically modified mice developed tumors more slowly than the unmodified mice, had 69 percent fewer tumors than regular mice and developed four times fewer invasive tumors.

According to the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance, sunlight-induced skin cancer is the most prevalent cancer in the United States with more than one million new cases each year.

The trade group offers no-cost quotes for critical illness insurance from a designated Association  professional.

New Drug Approved To Treat Deadly Skin Cancer

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced the approval of a new drug to treat advanced melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer. 

According to the announcement made in Washington, the drug named Zelboraf, was approved for patients with metastatic melanoma, the most life-threatening form of skin cancer and one form that cannot be removed with surgery. 

According to scientists, the drug is the latest in a new generation of cancer-fighting drugs specifically medically tailored to attack genetic vulnerabilities of malignancies.  The FDA explained that Zelboraf was approved only for tumors with a specific genetic mutation. The drug was approved with a test that can determine if a patient’s cancer has this particular mutation. 

The research testing and findings found that the mutation which produces a version of a protein that is normally involved in regulating cell growth is mutated in about half of patients with advanced melanoma. The report concluded that Zelboraf inhibits the activity of the mutated protein. 

Zelboraf, which is marketed by Genentech of San Francisco.  The medication was reviewed under the FDA’s priority review program, which enables the agency to approve drugs quickly. 

In a study involving 675 patients with late-stage melanoma with the mutation, 77 percent of those who received Zelboraf were still living, while only 64 percent of those who received a standard chemotherapy drug known as dacarbazine survived eight months, the FDA said. 

Melanoma is the leading cause of death from skin disease. About 68,130 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed and about 8,700 people die from the disease each year in the United States according to Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance which tracks health news related to cancer and heart disease. 

Individuals interested in receiving a cost quote for critical illness insurance from a designated American Association for Critical Illness Insurance professional can complete the organization’s free quote request form accessible at or by calling the Association’s offices.

Skin Cancer Can Be Inherited

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

 Two new studies suggest that skin cancer can be inhereited.

One study found that having an identical twin with melanoma increased a person’s own risk of developing the disease much more than having a fraternal twin with this type of skin cancer.  The other study revealed that having a parent or sibling with one of several different types of non-melanoma skin cancer increased risk as well.

Having an identical twin with melanoma increased a person’s own risk of the disease nearly 10-fold, while melanoma associated with having a non-identical twin with the disease was roughly doubled. 

Prior studies have suggested melanoma and other skin cancers run in families.  But medical experts note it has been difficult to separate the difference between the influence of genes and those caused by other environmental conditions.  Some 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year according to the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance. 

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia looked at twin pairs in which at least one sibling had been diagnosed with melanoma.  After looking at hundreds of candidates, the researchers found that in four of the 27 identical twin pairs, both had melanoma, while three of the 98 fraternal twin pairs had both been diagnosed with the deadly skin cancer. 

In the second study conducted at the University of California Los Angeles, researchers looked at the Swedish Family-Cancer Database to gauge the risk for several types of skin cancer among siblings and children of people diagnosed with these diseases.

They found that people with a sibling or parent diagnosed with some types of skin cancer were more likely to develop skin cancers of various types, not just the ones their relatives had. When tumors occurred at parts of the body more likely to have been exposed to the sun (such as the face, compared to the torso), the familial risk was stronger.  The findings were reported in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, September 2009.

Genetic Culprit In Deadly Skin Cancer

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

The National Institutes of Health researchers have identified a new group of genetic mutations involved in the deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma.

This discovery is encouraging because some of the mutations, those found in nearly one-fifth of melanoma cases, reside in a gene already targeted by a drug approved for certain types of breast cancer.

Melanoma is becoming increasingly more common, the result is thought to be sun exposure that can damage DNA and lead to cancer-causing genetic changes within skin cells.

A team of scientists at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) sequenced the protein tyrosine kinase (PTK) gene family in tumor and blood samples from people with metastatic melanoma.

The study was among the first to use large-scale DNA sequencing to systematically analyze all 86 members of the PTK gene family in melanoma samples.

Though additional work is needed to gain a more complete understanding of these genetic mutations and their roles in cancer biology, the scientists findings open the door to pursuing specific therapies that may prove useful for the treatment of melanoma with ERBB4 mutations.

Tanning Beds Get Highest Carcinogen Rating

Saturday, August 8th, 2009

The International Agency for Research on Cancer moved tanning beds to its highest cancer risk category  (carcinogenic to humans) according to a new report.

Previously, the agency had classified sunlamps and tanning beds as “probably” carcinogenic.  The move puts the devices a notch higher in terms of risk.  It also echoes calls by some U.S. experts to place tougher warnings and restrictions on tanning bed use.

“The use of tanning beds can be deleterious to your health and we hope to encourage governments to formulate restrictions and regulations for the use of tanning beds,” said report coauthor Beatrice Secretan, from the Cancer Monograph Working Group at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France. The Agency is part of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The first priority of the WHO is to restrict the use of tanning beds by those under 18, Secretan said. “If controls are put in place it will reduce the risks of the users or deter people from using them,” she said.
One U.S. expert agreed. “This new report confirms and extends the prior recommendation of the American Cancer Society that the use of tanning beds is dangerous to your health, and should be avoided,” said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society.  The report is published in the August issue of The Lancet Oncology.

In June, scientists from nine countries concluded that the risk of melanoma increases by 75 percent when use of tanning beds and sunlamps begins before 30 years of age. In addition, several studies provided evidence of a link between the use of UV-emitting tanning devices and melanoma of the eye.

Young women in particular are the heaviest users of tanning beds, and are at the greatest risk of causing harm to themselves.  This report also puts to rest the argument that tanning with UVA light is safe.

The FDA currently requires tanning salons to direct all customers to wear protective eye goggles and advises consumers to limit their exposure to tanning devices, and avoid them if you have certain medical conditions such as lupus or diabetes or are susceptible to cold sores.

In addition, the FDA requires labels on these devices that warn of skin aging, skin cancer and eye injury. However, in 2007 the FDA began a review of these warnings and is considering strengthening its warnings about the risk of skin cancer and eye damage, according to the agency.