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By Blog Master
Posted: 09/01/2021


Members of the Pasadena Village and the broader community learned more about the risk factors of skin cancer and what we can do to be safe in the sun.  Dermatology Certified Nurse Practitioner Chelsea Abad from the City of Hope Medical Center explained the different types of pre-cancerous skin changes that occur with aging and are exacerbated by sun exposure.  With the help of slides we could look at examples of basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas as well as the less prevalent but more deadly melanomas.

Ms. Abad emphasized that sun damage is cumulative and for those of us who spent our youth at the beach or the pool covered in coconut oil – the damage is done!  It is important now to protect our skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays by regularly, and properly using sun screen with a skin protective factor (SPF) of at least 30 every day on all parts of our body exposed to the sun.  It is equally important to wear a hat while outdoors in the sun – even for those who still have a full head of hair, as hair is not sufficient protection.

Additionally, Ms. Abad told us that our clothing is the most effective form of sun protection.  Clothing is now available that contains an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF).   For example, a UPF 50 fabric blocks 98% of the sun’s rays, thus reducing your exposure risk significantly.  Clothing must have a UPF of at least 30 to earn a recommendation from The Skin Cancer Foundation.  UPF clothing is widely available now; Target, REI, Land’s End, and Amazon all carry products that offer UPF protection.  Click on this link to learn more about Sun Protective Clothing from the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Finally, Ms. Abad urged everyone to see their dermatologist regularly and to follow their guidance on setting up a regular schedule for check-ups.

To view the video recording of the presentation on Skin Cancer Prevention click here. 

GUT HEALTH – What should we all know to protect our gut.

Dr. Trilokesh Kidambi, gastroenterologist at the City of Hope and Director of Colon Cancer Screening provided important and useful information on a topic …

First, he provided us with some sobering facts:
One in 20 people in the United States will be diagnosed with colon cancer.
Colon cancer is the third most prevalent cancer in the US in both men and women.
There are more than one million colon cancer survivors in the US.

And the most important fact:  Most people have no symptoms when they are diagnosed.

With that introduction, everyone paid careful attention to Dr. Kidambi’s presentation.

He listed the risk factors for developing colon cancer which include diet, smoking, and alcohol use.  However, the most important risk factor is age.  As we live longer we are more at risk of developing colon cancer.

However, Dr. Kidambi emphasized that colon cancer is a slow growing cancer which can be successfully treated if found early.  That is why everyone with no history of colon cancer in their family should have a colonoscopy once every ten years beginning at the age of 50.  For those with pre-existing conditions or a history of colon cancer in their family, colonoscopies are recommended every 3 – 5 years.  The good news about getting old, however, is that after about age 76, if previous colonoscopies have found no polyps in the colon, we are at very low risk from developing polyps or colon cancer.

Dr. Kidambi provided some simple preventive lifestyle habits that can provide some protection from developing colon cancer.  He recommended a diet high in magnesium and high fiber.  People should avoid eating a lot of red meat, smoking, and alcohol.

A Mediterranean diet is good.  Dr. Kidambi urged us to think of eating a plant based diet “with lots of colors.”  In other words, think of the colorful vegetables and fruits – carrots, beets, peaches. Etc.  Keep the peel on and eat them raw if possible.

Plain yogurt is a good source of probiotics which keep the gut microbiome healthy and balanced.

In the end we all learned the importance of screening, screening, and screening.  With proper screening, doctors can diagnose the problem at an early stage, perhaps removing pre-cancerous polyps and avoiding serious problems.

To view the video recording of the presentation on preventing colon cancer, click here.

Both presenters emphasized that the City of Hope is a resource to be used for screening, diagnosis, and treatment of many types of cancer.  Find out more at the City of Hope  website. 

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