MorganaParticipantHi all, new to this forum (and the world of melanoma) and would really appreciate any advice. I am of North African origin and have tan skin. All my life I’ve had very little exposure to direct sunlight even though I grew up thinking that I am very low risk for skin cancer because of my dark skin. About 2 years ago a fairly large mole appeared at the sole of my right foot and I completely ignored it and thought it was just another mole as I have quite a few. It didn’t seem to change in size or appearance but does look asymmetric. A couple of weeks ago, a cousin of mine had a large mole appear just under her knee, she visited her doctor and was urgently referred to a dermatologist. Thankfully her mole turned out to be normal but that prompted me to have mine checked and I went to see my doctor yesterday. As soon as she saw it she looked concerned and said it didn’t look normal and I needed to see a dermatologist in the next 2 weeks. I am now sick with worry and waiting for an appointment. I feel upset and stupid for not having it checked sooner but the idea that it could be anything serious had really never crossed my mind. Now that I can’t stop myself from reading about it I have learnt that an atypical mole under the foot is the most common form of non-sun exposure melanoma in dark skinned people. Has anyone experienced something similar? I guess my main concern now is if this turns out to be malignant, what are the chances of it not having already spread to other lymph nodes and organs? Could it be in-situ for all this time or is the fact that i’ve had it for 2 years bad news?
- September 14, 2019 at 8:21 pm
Sorry you are worried and frightened, anon. However, woulda coulda shoulda never helps and just makes us feel worse. You can’t undo the past. You are doing what you need to do. See the dermatologist. The only way you can know what you are dealing with is to have the lesion biopsied and go from there. Even if it is positive for melanoma, progression would have to be evaluated and could not really be predicted on the basis of biopsy alone. I know those are not the answers you want….but they are the only answers there are. Melanoma is mean and does not discriminate, striking peeps of all colors and creed. Hopefully, your situation will turn out just like your cousin’s!!! In fact, if you were going to play the odds – that is the most likely result. Get your biopsy. Breathe. Get the results. In the meanwhile, know that melanoma is not the absolute death sentence it once was! We have come a long way in gaining effective treatments in just the past 8 years. I’m still here – having been dealing with melanoma since 2003!!! There is hope even with melanoma. But! I’m hoping that is not something you will even have to deal with. Still, if you do…there are lots of caring knowledgeable peeps on this forum. I wish you my best. Celeste
- September 14, 2019 at 10:31 pm
Hi, Welcome to the melanoma think tank. I have been researching the cause of my melanoma for 12 years and I have yet to find “proof” that the sun causes melanoma. It does cause non-melanoma skin cancer. Lack of sun (vitamin D) does cause many cancers. In fact melanoma patents will survive longer if they go out into the sun. Try not to worry until you get the results from your doctor. You may want to get a vitamin d 25-hydroxy test.
- September 14, 2019 at 10:42 pm
- September 14, 2019 at 10:48 pm
Gene! My goodness!!! Where on earth is this sun exposure survival data???????????? Lordy mercy!!
Just like any neighborhood, anon – we got all kinds of peeps here!! At any rate, a lack of Vitamin D or low levels of it, has been implicated in many health issues including melanoma, so having your levels checked and taking supplemental vitamin D if needed isn’t a bad idea. Suddenly opting for sun exposure would be. For what it’s worth! c
Celeste please provide proof that the sun causes melanoma! Here are some thoughts for you.
- September 15, 2019 at 3:45 pm
Time for more vitamin D
The exact cause of all melanomas isn’t clear
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/melanoma/symptoms-causes/syc-20374884 Yes Mayo Clinic admits it!
Does ultraviolet light cause melanoma?There is solid descriptive, quantitative, and mechanistic proof that ultraviolet rays cause the main skin cancers (basal and squamous). They develop in pale, sun exposed skin, are related to degree of exposure and latitude, are fewer with avoidance and protection are readily produced experimentally, and are the overwhelmingly predominant tumour in xeroderma pigmentosum, where DNA repair of ultraviolet light damage is impaired.
None of these is found with melanoma.
https://www.bmj.com/content/337/bmj.a764.full you have to buy the full report to finish reading this study.
Oral Melanoma: You Can’t Blame The Sun… even Colgate admits the sun does not cause melanoma… there’s bad news: the cause of oral melanoma remains unknown
http://theconversation.com/skin-cancer-and-sun-damage-moles-on-the-body-largely-determined-by-genetics-our-new-research-suggests-122141 this is a start but there is more to it.
This was in the comments of my previous post.
- September 15, 2019 at 3:53 pm
Yet another promotion of slip, slap, slop that ignores evidence that low vtt D3 is associated with worse outcomes for various cancers including melanomas.eg https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5351676/ Slip slap slop of course results in diminuished skin production of D3, and diet is wholly inadequate replacement.So by all means slip, slap slop but remember that D3 deficiency beckons and the huge benefirs of adequacy of this defensive hormone that controls expression of around 10% of our genes. PHE recommend supplementation of 2000 IU pd,. a fraction of that achived by whole body sun ca 10 to 20,000 IU pd. . We get a mere 400 from typical diet.For the non expert, vitaminDwiki summarises the widespread benefits of D3Slip, slap, slop should carry health warning.
Gene, did you even read the article??? The whole discussion section talks about all the problems with the amount of data, the fact that it is retrospective, no control of who took vitamin D pills and who didn’t, low # of patients and the need to actual do a prospective trial and nothing about getting sun or sun exposure!!! Come on man, this is just weak!!!!
- September 15, 2019 at 4:22 pm
- September 15, 2019 at 4:36 pm
I’m going to say this ONE MORE TIME!!! I have never said that sun was the ONLY cause of melanoma!!! NEVER, EVER, EVER!!!! I don’t think it played a substantial role in mine. (If you ever read what I post you would know that!) It was not even mentioned AT ALL in my response to the poor, worried poster on this thread. On the other hand, there is significant data that with increased exposure to UV rays – there is increased melanoma. The data is abundantly clear that UV exposure plays a significant role in the development of about 1/2 of all melanomas. There is much we do not know!!!
I have for years – long before it was popular – advocated for melanoma peeps to have testing for an assessment of their personal vitamin D levels and take vitamin D (as I do) should it be needed. Here are a zillion research articles related to Vitamin D and melanoma from my blog: https://chaoticallypreciselifeloveandmelanoma.blogspot.com/search?q=vitamin+d
A point you seem to miss however, is that Vitamin D does not equal sunshine. Yes, your body, plus or minus a couple of factors, can utilize the sun’s rays to manufacture vitamin D. I don’t think I (or anyone) can explain that to you at this point. But it is a FACT. Here is an article from Yale that explains it pretty clearly: https://www.yalemedicine.org/stories/vitamin-d-myths-debunked/
WHY? WHY? WHY? Do you keep beating this weird drum and attacking me about this? More importantly – why do you hi-jack the threads of those in need who are (I’m sure) not interested in these ramblings in the least?
Further, I asked you to provide the data to back your assertion that ” melanoma patents will survive longer if they go out into the sun”. You have not provided it because it does not exist. The last thing you put up is completely nonsensical and I am not even going to waste my time trying to interpret it.
I am hoping that you will start following the standards noted for this forum. Have polite discussions. Ask for reasons/documentation for beliefs/opinions if you find them questionable. Be a person with or caring for another with melanoma. And actually read what a person states or asks before you launch your attack.
What we should all remember is that those of us with melanoma are in the same fight. Anybody can believe anything they wish! If you think standing with your toes in the sand, looking toward the sun with a Pabst Blue ribbon in your hand will cure your melanoma – ROCK ON!!!! If you can find data to support it – I will publish it on my blog and sing its praises here and JOIN YOU!!! Otherwise, I will ask you for your data. I will expect that it be reported accurately, without exaggeration. Or – that you will acknowledge what you speak of is merely your own experience and belief. Something we are all entitled to – as long as we acknowledge it as such.
Anon – ever so sorry that your post was hi-jacked in this manner. But, again. Get your biopsy. Go from there. Return here if there is ever a need. We, of this forum, are not always this loony. I wish you my best. Celeste
Ellie_82ParticipantSun exposure is only a risk factor for melanoma (one of many) and a relatively weak one at that. Multiple blistering sunburns only increase the risk of melanoma about 2-fold, compared it with lifetime smoking and lung cancer something like 30+ fold. It is known very well that sun exposure alone is not enough to cause melanoma. Other factors are needed. In fact, weak immune system is probably a much bigger risk factor for melanoma than sun exposure. Does it mean that people suddenly need to start exposing themselves to lots of sun? Not really. But it’s also not worth beating yourself up for some past sun exposures, while it is likely that sun played only a minor part if any at all.
- September 15, 2019 at 12:54 am
A little trivia for your guys. Which occupation has the highest risk for melanoma??? Unless you know the answer, you probably would never guess. Airline pilots, 11 times increased risk 😉
I agree with Ellie and Gene in regards to the sun not being the key risk factor in melanoma. Other detrimental factors are at play in melanoma. As for the pilots being higher risk for melanoma, it has to do with jet lag and working against circadian rhythms. People working shiftwork fall under the same category where they are at higher risk for all cancers not specifically melanoma.
- September 15, 2019 at 5:09 am
The following is a copy from a study.
Circadian rhythms maintain a 24 h oscillation pattern in metabolic, physiological and behavioral processes in all living organisms. Circadian rhythms are organized as biochemical networks located in hypothalamus and peripheral tissues. Rhythmicity in the expression of circadian clock genes plays a vital role in regulating the process of cell division and DNA damage control. The oncogenic protein, MYC and the tumor suppressor, p53 are directly influenced by the circadian clock. Jet lag and altered sleep/wake schedules prominently affect the expression of molecular clock genes. This study is focused on developing a Petri net model to analyze the impacts of long term jet lag on the circadian clock and its probable role in tumor progression. The results depict that jet lag disrupts the normal rhythmic behavior and expression of the circadian clock proteins. This disruption leads to persistent expression of MYC and suppressed expression of p53. Thus, it is inferred that jet lag altered circadian clock negatively affects the expressions of cell cycle regulatory genes and contribute in uncontrolled proliferation of tumor cells.
Keywords: Circadian clock, Jet lag, Tumor progression, Model checking, Petri net, Qualitative modeling
“11 times the risk”???????????????? Original study in JAMA from 2015: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/fullarticle/2293944
- September 15, 2019 at 11:45 am
STATES: “Conclusions and Relevance Pilots and cabin crew have approximately twice the incidence of melanoma compared with the general population.”
Further, “. Physicians should counsel patients to minimize skin cancer risk by avoiding established unsafe behaviors such as sun exposure that leads to burns and excessive aggregate UV exposure.”
Then, there’s this from 2018: https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/business-aviation/2018-10-03/pilots-get-informed-about-melanoma Which states:
“JAMA Dermatology reported in 2015, “Flight-based workers are thought to have a greater occupational hazard risk of melanoma owing to increased altitude-related exposure to UV [ultraviolet] and cosmic radiation.”
Some risk factors for pilots are the same as for other melanoma patients. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation, most commonly from sunlight or tanning beds, is a major risk factor, according the American Cancer Society. The presence of a large number of moles also increases the possibility of melanoma. Fair skin, childhood sunburns, and family history of melanoma are also common to many melanoma patients.
All skin types are susceptible to skin cancers. While pilots with fair skin are at higher risk, cancers can be harder to detect on darker skin shades.
For flight crews, flight time at high altitudes was another strong predictor of skin cancer. The study found that a one-hour flight at 30,000 feet exposed a pilot to about as much UV-A radiation as 20 minutes in a tanning bed. The study notes that airplane windshields do not provide full protection from UV-A rays. Melanomas were prevalent in pilots who flew primarily in the low latitudes. Pilots who flew in high latitudes, where UV rays are not as strong, had non-melanoma skin cancers.”
Hi there Melmel and Ellie, I would add Gene’s name but I have pretty much given up trying to bring him back from the dark side of alternative medicine!!! If you might consider two men in the field of melanoma research one at Yale Dr. Mario Sznole and the other at a large NY hospital, Dr. Jeffrey Weber who both have been in the melanoma treatment and research world for over 50 years have an informed view of melanoma and cancer in general. The following two links feature both men talking about melanoma and causes, at the 4 min mark for second video and right at the beginning of the first video. I hope that these two giants in the field can help shape your misguided views of what causes melanoma! https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0pPxGG_pu0M. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBcRHFGTyGs#fauxfullscreen
- September 15, 2019 at 10:21 am
Ed, why is it that the Mayo Clinic doesn’t know the exact cause of melanoma but you do?
- September 15, 2019 at 4:06 pm
The exact cause of all melanomas isn’t clear
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/melanoma/symptoms-causes/… Yes Mayo Clinic admits it!
- September 15, 2019 at 4:07 pm
Hi Gene, I will type slooowly so you can follow what I am saying. In the above post I ask the other members of the forum to consider the view point of Dr. Weber and Dr. Sznol in the video links. I don’t think I have stated what I think or an opinion other than the fact that I feel you are lost to the “dark side of the force” and can’t be saved from the “Alternative medicine” world of testomonials and quack conspiracy theory!
- September 15, 2019 at 4:32 pm
- September 15, 2019 at 5:00 pm
- September 15, 2019 at 10:41 am
Ed, although you may consider yourself a research expert so far there is no exact cause for melanoma. There is no cure, we don’t know what works, how much or why and why it works for some and not others so please come down from your pedestal and join us mortals. While you are entitled to your opinions so are we all. There is absolutely no reason to be aggressive or nasty when someone expresses a different point or view. We can all agree to respectfully disagree until the day we have a definitive cause and a cure. Until then, it’s all just reseach and studies all of which allow lots of trial and error. Like it or not we are all guinea pigs.
- September 15, 2019 at 9:03 pm
EdwinParticipantThere is no exact cause for lung cancer. People who smoke are much more likely to get lung cancer. A friend of mine never smoked, but lung cancer killed him. People of northwest European descent who live in Australia north of Tasmania or the United States south of Alaska are more likely to get melanoma than people with darker skin. As people migrated from Africa to northern Europe their skin became lighter over thousands of years. Too much sun may not be the only cause of melanoma, but light skinned people living nearer the equator than their ancestors did are wise to reduce their exposure to the sun. I appreciate the information that Ed provides. I am tired if seeing the dangerous nonsense that Gene often posts.
- September 15, 2019 at 9:47 pm
Tagged: cutaneous melanoma
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