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2018 May Newsletter: Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Monthly Healthcare Buzz…

 

The Department of Veterans Affairs turn to telemedicine to treat patients with mental health disorders. The use of telemedicine increases access to care and helps reduce high anxiety levels in patients unable to go to a clinic due to anxiety.

Scientists discovered 12 ancient hepatitis B genomes in 4,500-year-old humans remains, including a type of the virus that is now extinct. A technique called shotgun sequencing was used by the scientists to shred, at random, long strands of DNA. The fragments are then cloned.

An independent federal study reports that President Trump’s short-term health insurance plans could cost individuals and the government more than originally estimate. The chief actuary estimates the proposal could increase federal spending by $38.7 billion over 10 years.

The FDA approved a monthly shot for preventing chronic migraines, the first of its kind to be approved in the U.S. Three additional shots are also expected to be approved by next year.

U.S. sunscreens protect against sunburns causing UVB, but are not as effective at blocking UVA which can lead to premature aging and skin cancer. New sunscreen filters have not been approved in the U.S. since the late 1990s falling behind many European countries with sunscreen containing filters providing better UVA protection.

May was Skin Cancer Awareness Month

In the U.S., skin cancer is the most common and one of the most preventable types of cancer. (1)

Skin Cancer Awareness infographic

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) reports that UV radiation exposure in childhood and adolescence increases the risk of cancer later in life. They recommend behavioral counseling for parents and those between the ages of 6 months to 24 years of age, with fair skin types, on minimizing exposure to UV radiation.(1) Incorporating behavioral counseling and interventions into clinical settings proved effective and beneficial in several trials conducted by the USPSTF. Of the six trials evaluating the effect of sun protection behavior interventions among children and adolescents, five reported statistically significant improvements in parent-reported scores of child sun protection behaviors. As the incidence of this disease reaches epidemic levels, it is vital healthcare professionals find effective ways of educating patients about the risks of UV overexposure and how to prevent it.

 

Healthcare professionals are often pressed for time, so incorporating sun behavior counseling may seem difficult to fit into an appointment, but the health and financial benefits could be significant. If clinicians are alerted to patients at risk (fair skin types), prepared interventions could be incorporated into appointments. Offering print materials and sun protection aids such as sunscreen samples, hats, and shirts could be an efficient way to educate parents and encourage sun safety behaviors. Patients could then continue to educate themselves at home followed up by quick telephone calls from their doctor to check on the progress of sun protection behaviors. By incorporating behavioral counseling interventions into care plans, significant reductions in skin cancer incident and mortality could be achieved as well as easing the financial healthcare burden.

 

1. May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.skincancer.org/get-involved/skin-cancer-awareness-month
2. Final Recommendation Statement: Skin Cancer Prevention: Behavioral Counseling. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. (2018, March). Retrieved from https://uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/RecommendationStatementFinal/skin-cancer-counseling2
3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General. (2014) Retrieved from https://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/calls/prevent-skin-cancer/call-to-action-prevent-skin-cancer.pdf