News


10 September 2019

Spot the Difference and Seek out Change . . .

Spot the Difference and Seek out Change . . .

Change may be in the air but it’s the changes on our skin we should be tuning into – no matter the season. With the promise of warmer days less than three months away, many of us are turning our thoughts to beaches and barbeques – and also our summer-ready skin. So, now’s the time to brush up on skin speak before you begin peeling off the layers. Here we share the latest on melanoma news, vitamin A and cancer prevention break throughs and what to search for when scanning your skin . . .

Vege out . . .

In the name of science, one new study has found a link between vitamin A intake and reduced skin cancer risk – namely squamous cell carcinoma. What is squamous cell carcinoma? It’s our second most common form of skin cancer – melanoma our deadliest, and it can appear as a raised, crusty, non-healing sore, and is often found on hands, forearms, ears, face or neck of people. It's most common in those aged over 40 and can be life-threatening if left untreated. Typically, the roll of vitamin A in the body’s health involves support of growth and development, including reproductive, skin and eye health.

And now, scientist’s belief it may also reduce the risk of developing skin cancer – namely squamous cell carcinoma. Researchers from the Warren Alpert Medical School, the Brown School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School and Inje University conducted a mass study, which spanned over 26 years, analysing data from over 74,000 women and 48,000 men, and documenting over 3,978 of skin cancer cases. They concluded their findings to-date support that notion that having adequate intake of vitamin A could help prevent the development of skin cancer. They also added that most of the vitamin A in the studies cases came from food sources, especially vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, butternut squash, pumpkin, broccoli, apricots, and papaya, to name but a few.

Bring in the big guns . . . 

Melanoma is our deadliest cancer Down Under – our incidence rate is the highest in the world with over 4,000 cases each year, and resulting in over 80% of all skin cancer deaths. Not only does this dangerous cancer grow rapidly, it also has the highest resistance to conventional chemotherapy. But not all melanoma cancers are created equal, in fact approximately 25% of all melanoma are advanced by oncogenic mutations in the NRAS gene.

Therapeutic treatment targeting is the ideal way to treat this type of melanoma, unfortunately no therapies have been effective – till now. An international team of researchers at Boston University have discovered a promising inhibitor to specifically prevent NRAS mutant melanoma from growing. What did they uncover exactly? They identified a specific genetic enzyme – coded STK19 – which is a critical regulator of NRAS genetic function. After studying its mechanisms, they designed a STK19 inhibitor to prevent NRAS activation and development of mutant melanoma. What this means for those who suffer with NRAS melanoma mutations? Improved care and treatment are within reach. And with summer on the horizon, no matter what your family history of skin cancer or skin types, it pays to be vigilant and undergo a skin check. Prevention and greater awareness are the best steps towards combating this often-fatal cancer.

New mole - or new look -  on the scene . . .

Gentics, sun exposure, fair skin and a weakened immune system can all play a part in triggering a new mole to erupt to the surface. Couple those factors with the fact that moles come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and it can be hard to distinguish what’s ‘ok’ and what we should look a little more closely at. So, it’s important to monitor and watch for symptoms such as: • Changes in colour, shape, or size. • any pain or bleeding on and around a mole. • lightening of a mole – or a white halo around its edge.