How Tattoo Artists Could Help Reduce Skin Cancer

Tattoo artists may have a role to play in reducing cases of advanced skin cancer, researchers say.

That’s because tattoos can sometimes hide skin cancers, and make it harder for doctors to diagnose these cancers early, according to a new study.

The researchers found that tattoo artists typically don’t have a standard way of dealing with the moles that they may see on their clients, and contrary to what doctors would recommend, many will tattoo right over a mole if a client requests it.

Meanwhile, less than a third of the tattoo artists (29 percent) said they had recommended that a client see a dermatologist for a suspicious skin lesion.

“Our study highlights an opportunity for dermatologists to educate tattoo artists about skin cancer, particularly melanoma, to help reduce the incidence of skin cancers hidden in tattoos,” the researchers, from the University of Pittsburgh, wrote in the Jan. 18 issue of the journal JAMA Dermatology. Tattoo artists could also be taught how to recognize a suspicious skin lesion, and encourage their clients to see a dermatologist if they have such a lesion, the researchers said.

There have been several cases of people who had tattoos that concealed skin cancers, the researchers said.

In the new study, the researchers surveyed 42 tattoo artists during the summer of 2016, and asked them about their approach to dealing with moles and other skin lesions or conditions on their clients.

More than half (55 percent) of these tattoo artists said they had declined to tattoo skin with a rash, lesion or spot. When asked why they declined to tattoo skin in these cases, 50 percent said it was because they were concerned about the final appearance of the tattoo, while 29 percent said they were concerned about skin cancer. Another 19 percent said they were concerned about bleeding in their client’s mole.

When asked how they dealt with moles, about 40 percent said they tattooed around moles, but 43 percent said that they either tattooed over moles, or did what their clients asked them to do regarding the moles. About 70 percent said that their clients had never asked them to avoid tattooing over a mole or skin lesion.

“There has been a significant rise in melanoma incidence among young adults, some of the most frequent tattoo customers, making surveillance by tattoo artists especially important,” the researchers said.

Future studies could follow tattoo artists over time, and examine the effect of skin cancer education in this group, they said.

Melanoma is the deadliest type of skin cancer, and the first sign of the disease is often a change to an existing mole, such as in its size, shape or color, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Scientists Have Found A New Way To Stop Skin Damage and Aging From the Sun

Traditional sunscreen works by reflecting harmful ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation away from your skin, but a new compound does something even better – it guards your skin cells from the effects of the sun from the inside out.

Offering protection inside the cell where the greatest damage from UVA occurs, this compound is said to offer “unprecedented protection” against skin cancer, and the effects of photoaging, such as sags, wrinkles, and sunspots.

Dubbed the mitoiron claw, the compound clings to the insides of cells, and prevents the kind of iron leakage that’s triggered by UVA exposure. If severe enough, this iron leakage can ultimately leads to cell destruction.

To understand why loose iron is such a problem, you need to understand how UVA affects cells. Radiation from the Sun unlocks free radicals – highly active oxygen molecules – in the skin, which then cause damage to DNA, cell membranes, and proteins.

At the same time, it also releases iron from the cell’s mitochondria, which depletes the cell’s energy supply and causes the cells to produce more free radicals. In other words, UVA causes cells to be killed off, and this can eventually lead to skin cancer.

It also causes skin to sag, wrinkle, and age, as you might have noticed if you spent a lot of time basking in the sunshine as a kid.

To combat this, researchers from the University of Bath and King’s College London in the UK developed the mitoiron claw, which is a type of chelator – a compound that binds to an iron atom. This allows it to target iron that’s loose in the mitochondria of the cell and prevent the release of extra free radicals.

“The role of iron-mediated damage induced upon exposure of skin cells to UVA has been underestimated for many years,” said one of the team, Charareh Pourzand from the University of Bath. “For efficient protection against UVA-induced iron damage of skin strong chelators are needed, but until now these risked toxic effects caused by non-targeted iron starvation of cells.”

While the new substance focuses on UVA, protection is also needed against ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, short wave radiation that is even more of a risk when it comes to skin cancer.

The next step is to get the compound into existing sprays and creams with UVB protection. Although the initial mitoiron claw results have been promising, they’ve only been tested on human cells grown in a lab so far, but the scientists estimate their compound could make it to our sunscreen in three to four years.

“The current sunscreens are not bad, but they can certainly be improved,” pharmacologist and lead researcher, Olivier Reelfs from the University of Bath, told Kelsey Kennedy at Quartz.

Coffee Greatly Reduces Risk Of Getting Skin Cancer

Coffee is turning out to be the wonder drug we’ve always wanted. Only last week, a new study was released that said that a regular, daily intake of coffee could ward off liver cancer in alcoholics. Now, it seems, that sun worshippers who also consume a generous daily amount of coffee can also ward off skin cancer.

A new study put together by the NIH-AARP, found that coffee consumption has a protective quality against malignant melanoma skin cancer.

The study collected data from more than 447,000 men who participated in an overall diet and health study put together by the NIH-AARP. The participants completed a self-administered food-frequency questionnaire in 1995-1996, with a median follow-up of 10 years. The subjects in the study were all cancer-free when the study started, and the authors adjusted for ambient residential ultraviolet radiation exposure, body mass index, age, sex, physical activity, alcohol intake, and smoking history.

Overall, the highest coffee intake was inversely associated with a risk of malignant melanoma, with a 20 percent lower risk for those who consumed four cups per day or more. The more coffee an individual drank, the more protection from skin cancer they seemed to have, with the protective effect increasing from one or fewer cups to four or more. However, the effect was statistically significant for caffeinated but not decaffeinated coffee and only for protection against malignant melanoma.

The researchers point out that the results are early and may not be applicable to other populations, and therefore additional investigations of coffee intake are needed. However, they conclude that even if a generous daily intake of coffee only results in modest protective effects, it still may have a meaningful impact on melanoma morbidity.

The complete results of the study were published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.