In This Issue:
▪ Special Message From the Chairman
▪ Survivor Speaks Out!
▪ Communicating Strategically About Cancer Risks to Vulnerable Populations
▪ Protect Yourself Like A Pro
▪ Spring Sports Are Here Again
▪ Dispelling Myths About Skin Cancer: A Colorblind Disease
▪ Preparing for Spring: Self-Examination Checklist
▪ Learn the A,B,C,D,E’s of Skin Cancer Detection
▪ SSA Save the Date Reminders
Special Message From the Chairman
Welcome to Sun Safety Alliance’s spring 2009 newsletter. In continuing with SSA’s SunSations tradition, we hope our newsletter finds you well, and in the spring spirit! We hope you gain fresh and insightful new sun safety tips. Our mission at SSA is great but by working together we can raise skin cancer awareness. . . and together save lives!
This season our newsletter highlights articles from leaders in skin cancer prevention and health communication such as SSA Advisors, Dr. Gary Kreps, Chair of the Department of Communication at George Mason University, and Dr. Lynn McKinley-Grant, M.D., Senior Attending Dermatologist at Georgetown University/Washington Hospital Center and the Melanoma Center.
Our newsletter also features two unique melanoma survivor stories, including Professional Volleyball Player, Jeff Nygaard’s personal sun safe habits and a special story from a young woman that no longer considers being tan a symbol of beauty. Our goal at SSA is to help educate the public regarding the dangers of skin cancer, and we hope our newsletter will inspire others to practice sun safety year round!
We depend upon readers like you to help us increase awareness about skin cancer prevention, and we encourage you will share this newsletter with colleagues, family and friends across the United States and beyond. We hope you enjoy our spring newsletter and greatly welcome feedback, questions, or comments!
National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation
Founding Chairman, Sun Safety Alliance
Survivor Speaks Out!
By: Allison Henry
Growing up in Erie, Pennsylvania, I spent a great deal of time outdoors enjoying the lake with my friends. My mother always promoted wearing sunscreen; however, like most teenagers, I often overlooked her warnings in favor of perfecting my summer tan. Unfortunately, at the age of eighteen, when most seniors in high school are focused on graduation and prom, I was faced with a very scary reality. After a routine visit to my dermatologist’s office, I was diagnosed with stage one melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Thankfully, I caught the melanoma before it spread and my doctors were able to fully remove the cancer from my leg.
My experience with melanoma has deeply impacted my lifestyle and personal views. I learned first hand the real dangers of tanning beds and practicing unhealthy sun safety habits. After multiple doctor’s appointments and over fifteen additional skin biopsies, I have realized the importance of wearing daily sunscreen protection and performing self-examinations. I now visit my dermatologists every three months, and closely monitor any changes or new developments on my skin.
Over the past years, I have also learned the importance of balancing daily sun safe habits while maintaining a “normal” and active lifestyle. I still enjoy outdoor activities, however, I try to avoid being in direct sunlight between the hours of 10am-4pm. I also no longer consider being tan a symbol of beauty, rather a dangerous and unhealthy lifestyle. I have grown to embrace my natural skin tone, and feel secure knowing my new habits are helping me to prevent future skin damage and premature ageing.
My experience with melanoma has inspired me to share my story with others. In order to promote skin cancer prevention, awareness, and education, I decided to intern with the Sun Safety Alliance. The SSA internship has been personally gratifying, an amazing educational opportunity. It has been extremely rewarding to be part of an organization that is dedicated to protecting my future, and promoting a brighter future for skin cancer awareness.
As a young melanoma survivor, I strongly encourage others to speak out, and join SSA in our mission to reduce the risk of skin cancer for generations to come. As part of this initiative, I am proud to announce, SSA will be launching a new “Survivors Speak Out” forum, which will call for other skin cancer survivors