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NEWS

Jimmy Buffett...

While I'm sure you've all heard about the loss of Jimmy Buffett a few days ago, you may not have heard that he lost a four-year long battle with a form of skin cancer on September 1. Some skin cancers can spread to other parts of the body and turn deadly. Below you'll find more information lifted liberally from an article by the Mayo Clinic on Merkel cell carcinoma. To read the full article, click here .


Merkel cell carcinoma killed Jimmy Buffett. It's a rare type of skin cancer that usually appears as a flesh-colored or bluish-red nodule, often on your face, head or neck. While it's not clear what causes Merkel cell carcinoma, it begins in the Merkel cells. Merkel cells are found at the base of the outermost layer of your skin.

Risk factors - Factors that may increase your risk of Merkel cell carcinoma include:

  • Excessive exposure to natural or artificial sunlight. Being exposed to ultraviolet light, such as the light that comes from the sun or from tanning beds, increases your risk of Merkel cell carcinoma. The majority of Merkel cell carcinomas appear on skin surfaces frequently exposed to sun.
  • A weakened immune system. People with weakened immune systems including those with HIV infection, those taking drugs that suppress the immune response or those with chronic leukemias are more likely to develop Merkel cell carcinoma.
  • History of other skin cancers. Merkel cell carcinoma is associated with the development of other skin cancers, such as basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma.
  • Older age. Your risk of Merkel cell carcinoma increases as you age. This cancer is most common in people older than age 50, though it can occur at any age.
  • Light skin color. Merkel cell carcinoma usually arises in people who have light-colored skin. Whites are much more likely to be affected by this skin cancer than are blacks.

Prevention - While exposure to sunlight isn't proved to cause Merkel cell carcinoma, it is considered a risk factor for this cancer. Reducing your sun exposure may reduce your risk of skin cancer. Try to:

  • Avoid the sun during peak hours. Avoid sun exposure as much as possible during the strongest sunlight hours of the day typically from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Move your outdoor activities to a time earlier in the morning or later in the day.
  • Shield your skin and eyes. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, tightly woven clothing and sunglasses with ultraviolet (UV) light protection.
  • Apply sunscreen liberally and often. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, even on cloudy days. Apply sunscreen generously, and reapply every two hours or more often if you're swimming or perspiring.
  • Watch for changes. If you notice a mole, freckle or bump that's changing in size, shape or color, talk to your doctor. Most skin nodules never become cancer, but catching cancer in its early stages increases the chances that treatment will be successful.

 

Fair Winds and Following Seas Jimmy...


 

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