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Lifelong Prevention Still Key to Beating
Newswise, April 14, 2011 — Summertime means
plenty of fun in the sun for many. “I would
burn on Saturday and Sunday, peel by
Wednesday and be back on the water by the
next Saturday doing the same thing,” says
Thomas Randall, a man in his 70s who spent
much of his youth at a lake or a beach
trying to tan a pale complexion.
But countless hours of sun exposure have
taken a toll on his skin, and he now needs
regular examinations to search for
“I had two moles cut off my chest and a
major incision on my left leg to remove
another mole,” Kendall says. He’s also had
lesions removed from his face and both ears.
Craig Elmets, M.D., chair of the UAB
department of dermatology, says protecting
skin from the sun's ultraviolet radiation,
is the number one way to avoid potential
"Sunscreen should be worn daily and
re-applied often, even if the sky is cloudy.
A hat and sunglasses with 100 percent UV
protection also protect against melanoma, a
form of skin cancer than can occur anywhere
on the body, even in the eye," Elmets
Keeping a check on moles is also important,
and any changes in moles shape, color or
texture should be brought to the attention
of a dermatologist.
Elmets is also researching various drugs to
findElmets’ research focuses on drug-based
skin-cancer prevention. In 2010 Elmets
demonstrated the drug Celebrex may help
prevent some non-melanoma skin cancers.
Now, he is investigating other medications
that could keep skin cancer from developing
in patients who are considered high risk due
to a personal or family history of the
“Our studies are preliminary, but they have
been very encouraging and we’ve found that
the medications we’ve tested cause a 50 to
60 percent reduction in skin-cancer
development,” Elmets says.