The Connection Between
Beauty and Health
For many people, health and beauty inhabit quite distant altitudes on a "proper" hierarchy of values. Health belongs high on the scale for them, while beauty should be low on our scale of importances. Health is an important concern.
Beauty is a frivolous obsession with youth, they think. After all, health is a deep, core value, while beauty is by definition superficial. It's only skin deep, right?
Of course, whether you happen to believe this way or not depends at least partly on which definition of "beauty" you have learned or adopted.
If beauty means holding everyone to the same media-derived standards of glamour and attractiveness, we might be more inclined to agree. If beauty means slavishness to fashion, dieting to the point of anorexia, or even compulsive miror-gazing, we would definitely agree.
But that's not the kind of beauty we want to talk about here. We're much more interested in the kind of beauty that not only lights your eyes but warms your heart when you encounter someone who has it - be they young or old, man, woman or child. This is "the beauty that comes from within," and we don't discount that.
"Momma, am I pretty?" "You're beautiful on the inside, Sweetheart."
Some might hear a consolation prize in the mother's reply, and our status-driven, possession-accumulating culture provides plenty of support for that interpretation. But we hear a positive affirmation of the best values a child could learn.
The beauty that comes from within. We firmly believe this kind of beauty rises an internal foundation of health: physical health, emotional and psychological health, and spiritual health. That's why you find support for all these aspects of health here at WellnessWatchersMD.
Just as redness and swelling are symptoms of inflammation, true beauty is one of the symptoms of good health. Vibrant aliveness, happiness, clarity grounded in positive purpose - when you see someone with these elements in chorus, your heart can't help singing in response. And when you have all these elements in place for yourself, you don't need to look in the mirror so often, because the people around you constantly reflect back your true beauty in their smiles.
And the best part is, it's available to everyone.
Safer Fun in the Summer Sunby our Medical Director
Any diagnosis of cancer can be frightening - including skin cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. However, skin cancer accounts for less than 1 percent of all cancer deaths; 85% to 95% of all cases are cured. Prevention and early detection are the most important weapons in the battle against skin cancer. Continuing research is making them ever more effective.
Skin cancer is strongly associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, part of the energy that comes from the sun (it also can come from artificial sources like sun lamps and tanning booths). UV radiation is made up of two types of rays, called UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays are more likely than UVA rays to cause sunburn, but UVA rays pass more deeply into the skin. Scientists have long thought that UVB radiation causes the skin damage that can lead to skin cancer and premature aging. They now think that UVA radiation may have these consequences, too.
According to NIH's National Cancer Institute, the cure rate for skin cancers could be nearly 100% if they were all brought to a doctor's attention before they had a chance to spread. There are three different types of skin cancer - melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. It is particularly important to diagnose and treat melanoma early. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, with 55,100 new cases and 7,910 deaths expected this year in the U.S. alone.
Melanoma usually begins as a mole. Twenty years ago, dermatologists noted that the typical warning signs of early melanoma follow an easy-to-remember formula:
The dermatologists who devised that list now suggest adding "E," for "Evolving."
"An evolving lesion is one that changes size, shape or symptoms, such as itching or tenderness," Dr. David Polsky of New York University's Department of Dermatology explained.
The "E" captures a particular type of melanoma, called nodular, which often does not follow the original ABCs, Polsky said. Nodular melanoma is the most aggressive type of melanoma and accounts for 10% to 15% of all melanomas.
Polsky led a group suggesting the alphabetical expansion in a recent review published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. They cited a study of 125 patients with nodular melanoma in which 78% had noticed a significant change in their mole's appearance. Other studies support the idea that moles that change shape, color, or size are more likely to be melanoma.
While melanoma may be the most deadly type of skin cancer, both basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are far more common. Researchers estimate that 40% to 50% of people who live to age 65 will be diagnosed with one of these skin cancers. They can occur anywhere but are typically on the head, face, neck, hands, and arms. They grow more slowly than melanoma and rarely spread to other areas, but need to be treated as well.
Carcinomas can appear as small, smooth, shiny, pale or waxy lumps, or sometimes as a firm red lump. Some people develop a precancerous condition called actinic keratosis, a rough, red or brown scaly patch on the skin that may develop into squamous cell carcinoma. It usually occurs in areas that have been exposed to the sun, such as the face, the back of the hands and the lower lip.
Your overall chance of developing a skin cancer is related to your lifetime exposure to UV radiation. While most skin cancers appear after age 50, the sun's damaging effects begin at an early age. It's important to start sun protection in childhood to prevent skin cancer later in life. Check yourself regularly for new growths or other changes in your skin, and report any unusual growths to a doctor.
Questions for Your Doctor
If you are diagnosed with skin cancer, here are some questions to ask your doctor:
Preventing Skin Cancer
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