topic
The beauty of a good hat

Introduced: July 01 2015

For years, the advice about preventing skin damage has been: Seek shade, wear sunscreen and wear protective clothing, including a good hat like this one. That's still good advice. But recently there have been some skin cancer break-throughs.

The good news for persons with advanced melanoma, the most serious and deadly type of skin cancer, is that researchers have discovered that a duo of immune-boosting drugs was successful in shrinking tumors in 60% of the test subjects. It's being called the "double-hit" treatment and some think that therapies like this -- in which drugs boost a person's immune system so it goes into high gear to fight cancer cells -- may ultimately replace chemotherapy for treating cancer. 

 

For the lesser kinds of skin cancer -- basil cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma -- scientists are exploring the potential benefits of a vitamin called nicotinamide. A team of Australian researchers found that nicotinamide, a form of vitamin B3, significantly reduced the recurrence of skin cancer. It wasn't tested on people who have never had skin cancer before.

 

I'll add one word of caution. This vitamin and its results sounded so good to me, that the same day I heard about it, I went to Whole Foods looking for it. I picked up some Vitamin B3 (Niacin) because the news story I'd seen didn't differentiate between that B3 and the B3 in the study. The news story said the vitamin was tolerated well and had few (maybe even no?) side effects. So I popped one of the vitamins. Within 15 minutes I had the strangest sensation of small fiery needles beginning on my neck and moving downward. I called poison control and the nice lady on the phone said that was "Niacin flush" and that it would go away by itself in a half hour or so. So the moral of the story is: That was the wrong vitamin -- and you shouldn't pop one anyway without talking to your doctor.

 

The possible benefits of the correct B3 (nicotinamide) are exciting for people who've had basil cell or squamous cell cancers -- and that number of people is growing -- because, while not life-threatening -- continuous cases of skin cancer can be frustrating, and in some cases, disfiguring. In a procedure called "Mohs surgery," the surgeon scrapes away skin cells a little at a time, the sample is tested, and only when the tissue is cancer free is the patient "stiched up" and allowed to leave. It can take all day. And people who have had one, are likely to have move. Unless the drug combo -- ipitimumab and nivoumab -- turns out to solve the problem. Stay tuned.

 

In the meantime...wear your hat, sit under a tree, and slather on the sun stuff.

 

Dialogue on The beauty of a good hat
516:

We're all getting smarter about blocking the sun. Thanks to surfers, there are now shirts, tights, pants, etc. with SPF 50. They're sometimes called "rashguard" because, I guess, they also protect surfers from their boards? Such clothing is carried by Athleta, Parasol, and Coolibar and I've also found some at Dick's Sporting Goods.

516:

We're all getting smarter about blocking the sun. Thanks to surfers, there are now shirts, tights, pants, etc. with SPF 50. They're sometimes called "rashguard" because, I guess, they also protect surfers from their boards? Such clothing is carried by Athleta, Parasol, and Coolibar and I've also found some at Dick's Sporting Goods.

516:

We're all getting smarter about blocking the sun. Thanks to surfers, there are now shirts, tights, pants, etc. with SPF 50. They're sometimes called "rashguard" because, I guess, they also protect surfers from their boards? Such clothing is carried by Athleta, Parasol, and Coolibar and I've also found some at Dick's Sporting Goods.

Content