2 posts tagged “sun safety”

A possible Parkinson’s disease/melanoma link? Time for a skin check

Posted 9 months ago by

Now that summer has passed, have you had your skin examined? Studies have shown that people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) may have an increased risk for melanoma, so skin screenings are extra-important. Take a look at recent research and get some tips on monitoring your moles and skin.

Studies show…

A 2017 Mayo Clinic study found that people with either PD or melanoma are four times as likely to receive a diagnosis of the other disease. The researchers say the PD drug levodopa (which some people believe may play a role in melanoma risk) is not likely a factor in the PD/melanoma connection, according to McKnight’s. They found that the majority of melanomas were diagnosed before the diagnosis or treatment of Parkinson’s disease, so taking levodopa doesn’t appear to be a risk factor.

Future research should focus on genes, immune responses and environmental exposures that could cause the relationship, the researchers say.

Know your “ABCDEs”

Check out the Skin Cancer Foundation’s “ABCDEs of Melanoma” (click here to see images of examples), and make an appointment right away if you spot any of these warning signs:

A = asymmetry. Malignant moles tend to have an odd shape.

B = border. The edges of an early melanoma may be uneven or “scalloped.”

C = color. Watch out for moles that are a spotty mix of colors (from tan to black, or even shades of red, white or blue).

D = diameter. Melanomas are usually larger in diameter than a pencil eraser (but may be smaller early on).

E = evolving. Keep an eye out for any changes in your moles, such as size, shape, color, elevation, or another trait, or new symptoms such as bleeding, itching or crusting.

Also, keep in mind these other risk factors for melanoma, according to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research:

  • Ultraviolet (UV) light exposure (psst: use sunscreen and protective clothing)
  • Caucasian race
  • Older age
  • Male
  • Family history of melanoma or personal history of melanoma or other skin cancers

The Fox Foundation is currently funding studies on the PD/melanoma connection, including one exploring the role of alpha-synuclein (a sticky protein) in both conditions, and others examining the genes or gene mutations involved in the two conditions. Learn more here.

On PatientsLikeMe

Some members report having both PD and melanoma. “I encourage everybody to go to a dermatologist, who has observed thousands of moles, on various skin types, and pay them to do a body scan,” says one member with PD and melanoma (fortunately, a biopsy showed his cancer had not spread). “Melanoma is not slow progressing like Parkinson’s.”

Has your doctor ever mentioned melanoma risk? Join PatientsLikeMe or log in to talk about Parkinson’s and melanoma in the PD forum.


Bright ideas: Members share 7 head-to-toe tips for sun safety with lupus

Posted June 9th, 2017 by

With summer just around the bend, we’ve rounded up PatientsLikeMe members’ sun-safety and photosensitivity tips for people living with lupus. Photosensitivity is increased sensitivity to sunlight and other sources of ultraviolet (UV) light, sometimes causing a rash or other skin reaction.

On PatientsLikeMe, thousands of people with lupus say they’ve experienced photosensitivity – more than half of them reporting it’s “moderate” or “severe.” Here are a few ways members are coping with it…

Even more tips

“I’ve found it most effective to switch to a moisturizer and makeup with added sun protection. I also keep a floppy hat hanging by the front door for yard work.” – LilliGirl

“I have invested in several neutral, long sleeve jackets. They help by covering my arms but are athletic/highly breathable and actually keep me cooler than allowing the sun to beat down on my skin ever would.” – LilliGirl

“I find I can slowly build up a bit of ‘tolerance’ by sitting out in my garden. I start by doing 5-10 minutes for a few weeks and slowly build it to 30-40 minutes eventually.” – FABWHEELIE

Reminder: Not all sunscreens are created equal. Dermatologists recommend using sunscreens that contain the ingredient Mexoryl (which offers the best coverage, blocking UVA-1, UVA-2 and UVB rays) or Helioplex (which blocks UVA-1 and UVA-2). Also, apply sunscreen 30 minutes before heading outdoors to ensure it’s absorbed, and wear sunscreen even on overcast days, which also bring UV rays.

Living with lupus and photosensitivity? Check out 56 forum posts about lupus

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