Skin Cancer: Popular Painkiller as Important as SPF?

Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, and is the leading cause of death from skin disease.

But when it comes to prevention:  could a popular painkiller be as important as the number of your SPF?

“I was always covered and if I swam I paid attention to how much sunscreen I put on,” said Carter Ford.

“It was the only sunburn seasoned sailor Carter Ford ever recalled getting.

“I spent a day in the swimming pool which washed off the sun screen and I didn’t feel the burn, so I became covered with blisters,” said Ford.

And it happened when he was just *eight* years old.

“I was in the worst pain of my life and was quarter-inch to half-inch blisters over my back and on my shoulders,” said Ford.

“Even a single sunburn will increase the risk of developing skin cancer even melanoma the most dangerous type of skin cancer,” warns Dr. Mark Faries.

Every year in the U.S., around 60,000 people will get melanomas: cancerous growths that develop when damage is done to the DNA of skin cells, most often caused by ultraviolet rays.

“It was three days before Christmas in 2011.”

For grandmother Carole Kennoy, her wake-up call came less than two years ago.

“I had a lesion that came up on my leg and I went to see my dermatologist and he removed it, so it was a total surprise”, said Kennoy.

And while the most current and effective treatment to *beat* the deadly skin disease is still surgery… could an aspirin a day actually keep melanoma at bay?

“Patients that were taking aspirin regularly had a significant reduction in their risk of developing melanoma, said Dr. Mark Faries, adding, “it’s the neighborhood of 25 or 30% lower risk so it’s a significant change.”

But even with these findings, Dr. Mark Faries of the John Wayne Cancer Institute warns that it’s too early to suggest everyone start taking the over-the-counter drug as a guarantee to prevent melanoma.

“If aspirin is something that your doctor prescribes for heart protection or for stoke protection then it may give you an added benefit in terms of decreasing your risk of melanoma as well,” said Faries.

As for melanoma fighters and survivors – Carole and Carter – they still have fun in the sun.

“With my little grandbaby I’ve bought her a swimsuit that completely covers her up,” said Kennoy.

One of the best tools to fight melanoma? Your mirror.  Experts say: use the ‘abcde’ system to self monitor your skin.

Look for asymmetry, borders, color, diameter and evolution… and if you notice anything unusual, talk to your doctor immediately.

– Kimberly Cornell, KTLA News

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