Although many think most sun damage happens at a young age, the majority of sun exposure actually occurs after the age of 40. However, it’s never too late to make a difference in your skin health with these preventative tips.
It’s Never Too Late to Stay Protected from the Sun
(Family Features) It’s a common myth that most sun damage happens before the age of 18, but does this mean sun damage becomes less of a threat as we get older? Although many think most sun damage happens at a young age, the majority of sun exposure actually occurs after the age of 40.¹ However, it’s never too late to make a difference in your skin health.
In fact, between 40-50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will have skin cancer at least once in their lives.² Non-melanoma skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma, is the most common form of skin cancer,³ and most often occurs in people over the age of 50.4 This rang true for John Gohmann, who was diagnosed with advanced basal cell carcinoma at age 64, and has been an outdoorsman for as long as he can remember.
“Being outside my whole life, playing a lot of golf and working on the railroad, I never used sunscreen and didn’t think about getting skin cancer,” John said. “I was shocked to learn not wearing sunscreen was so dangerous and that I could still be causing myself damage, even in my later years.”
After ignoring a small lesion on his nose for years, John could no longer ignore the pain and finally went to see a dermatologist. The cancer had spread into the bone of his nose, upper lip and gums, and his doctor said he was not eligible for surgery or radiation because of the location and depth of the cancer. John learned for his particular case he was eligible for an oral pill, Erivedge (vismodegib), which is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with basal cell carcinoma that has spread to other parts of the body and cannot be treated with surgery or radiation. John is still taking the medicine today. Like all medications, Erivedge is associated with serious side effects and has the potential to harm an unborn baby. Always consult with your doctor on possible side effects.
“For the first time in my life, I recognize the dangers of skin cancer and the sun,” John said. “I now have a routine to protect myself from harmful sun exposure, especially when I’m on the golf course, including wearing sun screen and protective clothing, and think it’s important for everyone to schedule an annual appointment with their physician.”
It’s never too late to protect yourself from the sun. Dr. Keith LeBlanc Jr. of The Skin Surgery Centre recommends these preventative tips:
Important Safety Information and Indication
It is not known if Erivedge is safe and effective in children.
Erivedge can cause a patient’s baby to die before it is born (be stillborn) or cause a baby to have severe birth defects.
For females who can become pregnant:
Exposure to Erivedge during pregnancy:
Before taking Erivedge, patients should tell their healthcare provider:
While taking Erivedge, patients should avoid:
Possible Side Effects of Erivedge:
The most common side effects of Erivedge are: muscle spasms, hair loss, change in how things taste or loss of taste, weight loss, tiredness, nausea, diarrhea, decreased appetite, constipation, joint pain and vomiting.
Erivedge can cause absence of menstrual periods (amenorrhea) in females who are able to become pregnant. It is not known if amenorrhea is permanent. Patients should talk to their healthcare provider if they have concerns about fertility.
These are not all of the possible side effects of Erivedge. Because everyone is different, it is not possible to predict what side effects any one person will have or how severe they may be. Patients should talk to their doctor for medical advice about side effects.
Side effects may be reported to the FDA at (800) FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch. Side effects may also be reported to Genentech at (888) 835-2555.
For more information on skin cancer, visit gene.com/skin-health.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (man with doctor)
¹ Skin Cancer Foundation. The Sun Keeps Rising: Why Seniors Can’t Skip UV Protection. Available at https://www.skincancer.org/healthy-lifestyle/anti-aging/seniors
2Sun Protection. Cancer Trends Progress Report –2009/2010 Update. National Cancer Institute. Available at http://progressreport.cancer.gov/sites/default/files/archive/report2009.pdf
3 American Cancer Society. Key Statistics for Basal and Squamous Cell Skin Cancers. Available at https://www.cancer.org/cancer/basal-and-squamous-cell-skin-cancer/about/key-statistics.html
4 Mayo Clinic. Basal cell carcinoma. Available at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/basalcell-carcinoma/symptoms-causes/syc-20354187
5American Academy of Dermatology. Protect your skin from the sun. Available at https://www.aad.org/public/kids/skin/taking-care-of-your-skin/protect-your-skin-from-the-sun
6 Skin Cancer Foundation. Basal Cell Carcinoma – Causes and Risk Factors. Available at https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/basal-cell-carcinoma/bcc-causes-and-risk-factors
7 Skin Cancer Foundation. Basal Cell Carcinoma Prevention Guidelines. Available at: https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/basal-cell-carcinoma/bcc-prevention-guidelines
8 American Academy of Dermatology. Basal Cell Carcinoma: Diagnosis And Treatment. Available at: https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/skin-cancer/basal-cell-carcinoma#treatment
While each woman’s aging experience will be as unique as she is, Dr. Alyssa Dweck, an OB/GYN, author and expert on women’s health, points to some common health changes women may encounter during several decades of their lives.
(BPT) - Being healthy is a common goal for many people, but good health does not have a finite endpoint; it’s an ongoing process that unfolds over a lifetime. For women, aging can bring on surprising health changes as they move through the decades of their life. From good nutrition and proper exercise to bone health and vaginal wellness, knowing the changes aging may cause can empower women to better care for themselves and prepare.
“From puberty to pregnancy to menopause, a woman’s body can go through a plethora of changes in her lifetime,” says Dr. Alyssa Dweck, an OB/GYN, author and expert on women’s health. “Once adulthood hits, the next few decades bring about expected, and some not-so-expected, physical, mental and emotional changes. Those changes mean how we care for our bodies will change, too.”
While each woman’s aging experience will be as unique as she is, Dr. Dweck points to some common health changes women may encounter during several decades of their lives:
With puberty completely over, women can begin to identify what is and isn’t normal for their bodies. While diet and exercise are important at any age, during their 20s women begin to understand what is required in order to maintain a healthy weight. Menstrual health may fluctuate during this decade of life and many women will focus on both contraception and feminine hygiene, Dweck says.
“Women ages 21 and older should get a pap smear at least every three years,” she adds.
During this age range, infections are not unusual. In fact, three out of four women will experience a yeast infection in their lifetime. Diets high in sugar and/or alcohol can increase the risk, as well as other factors like staying in a damp bathing suit or tight clothing for extended periods and menstrual cycle fluctuations. For those experiencing an infection for the first time, it’s best to visit the gynecologist to confirm the diagnosis.
During their 30s, women often start to focus on family planning and pregnancy, among other things.
The hormonal changes that occur with pregnancy and/or use of birth control can cause shifts in pH balance, which can lead to infections. Being familiar with yeast infection symptoms from past experience allows women to find quick and easy solutions, like the over-the-counter treatment of MONISTAT(R) in the feminine hygiene aisle of local drugstores. It relieves symptoms four times faster and works on more of the most common strains of yeast than the leading prescription.
Nutrition continues to be important during this decade, whether women choose to begin families or not, as bone loss generally commences in the fourth decade and metabolism slows. Women should adjust their diets and exercise to ensure their caloric intake meets their needs, including maintaining their intake of calcium and eating nutritious, low-fat foods.
Perimenopause can cause significant health changes for women in their 40s, including a decrease in estrogen levels. Something many may find surprising is that at this age, women are at their sexual prime. However, intimate areas become thinner and less elastic in a woman’s 40s, which may cause varying degrees of discomfort.
Most women will experience menopause during their 50s, and while this new stage can cause pH changes, having no more menstruation or erratic cycles can be very freeing. With diminished estrogen, drying can occur in private areas, for which moisturizers and lubricants can be useful. Women should avoid feminine products that are not both dermatologist and gynecologist tested as they can cause yeast infections, Dweck cautions.
At this age, it is more important than ever to maintain a regular exercise routine, including cardio, strength training and flexibility training.
60s and beyond
By this age, most women know their bodies intimately and can quickly tell when something isn’t right. Common health issues that can occur with age include diabetes, arthritis, cancer and heart disease, many of which also cause irregularities in feminine health.
Women should remain active and continue to eat healthily as metabolism slows and bone health decays. Brain health is also important. Along with regular exercise and intellectual stimulation, social interaction with family and friends can help prevent cognitive decline.
“Women will typically know what’s normal for them. There isn’t one normal — just normal for you,” Dweck says. “Women should never be afraid to familiarize themselves with their bodies and ask their doctors questions. Be inquisitive and don’t consider any topic taboo. Good health is a multifaceted process, and gynecological health is an important part of a woman’s overall well-being.”
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