What is hair ef­flu­vium?

Cape Breton Post - - FOOD FOCUS -

di­ents: tretinoin, hy­dro­quinone and flu­o­ci­nolone, a cor­ti­sone drug. All are pre­scrip­tion items. None works overnight.

Doc­tors can re­move those brown spots by freez­ing them off. It’s an im­me­di­ate treat­ment. Lasers also can get rid of them. So can der­mabra­sion, the sand­pa­per­ing of skin, of­ten used for acne scars.

Th­ese treat­ments are con­sid­ered cos­metic pro­ce­dures and might not be cov­ered by in­sur­ance.

TO READ­ERS: The book­let on stroke ex­plains this com­mon and tragic con­di­tion and its re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion. Read­ers can or­der a copy by writ­ing: Dr. Dono­hue — No. 902, Box 536475, Or­lando, FL 328536475. En­close a cheque or money or­der (no cash) for $6 Cdn with the re­cip­i­ent’s printed name and ad­dress. Please al­low four weeks for de­liv­ery.

DEAR DR. DONO­HUE: Will you please give me some in­for­ma­tion on Reglan? I would like to know what it’s used for and what side ef­fects it has. — J.T

AN­SWER: Reglan (meto­clo­pramide) speeds the pas­sage of food through the stom­ach and the first parts of the small in­tes­tine. It also en­ables the esophageal sphinc­ter to close more tightly. The sphinc­ter is an en­cir­cling mus­cle at the bot­tom of the esoph­a­gus that pre­vents stom­ach acid from squirt­ing up­ward into the esoph­a­gus.

Reglan is used for GERD, gas­troe­sophageal re­flux dis­ease (heart­burn) be­cause of its ef­fect on the sphinc­ter mus­cle. It’s also pre­scribed for gas­tro­pare­sis, a stom­ach con­di­tion in which it takes an in­or­di­nately long time for food to pass through the stom­ach. This con­di­tion of­ten is due to di­a­betes.

It also has “off-la­bel” uses. One is to con­trol nau­sea and vom­it­ing. An­other is con­trol of Tourette’s syn­drome.

In­vol­un­tary mus­cle con­trac­tions, fa­cial gri­mac­ing, signs sug­ges­tive of Parkin­son’s dis­ease and grog­gi­ness are some of its pos­si­ble side ef­fects. It can raise blood pres­sure and have some ill ef­fects on the liver. TORONTO — The spot was very dark, al­most black, barely the size of a pen­cil eraser, and would bleed when Jackie Con­nors shaved her legs.

She ini­tially chose to ig­nore it. But at age 20 while in nurs­ing school and learn­ing about the signs and symp­toms of skin can­cer, it soon would be­come a cause for con­cern.

“I still re­mem­ber sit­ting at my desk think­ing, ‘Wow, this is what I have,’ and still try­ing to put it in the back of my mind of not want­ing to think that it could be that,” Con­nors re­called in a tele­phone in­ter­view from St. John’s, N.L.

Her fam­ily doc­tor thought she was too young to have skin can­cer, but re­ferred her to a sur­geon to have the spot re­moved.

About a week af­ter he’d taken it off, the sur­geon called her and con­firmed her ini­tial fears — she had melanoma.

“I was dev­as­tated, I was, for a lot of rea­sons,” Con­nors re­called of her re­ac­tion. “(Not) just for the di­ag­no­sis of can­cer but also know­ing I couldn’t tan any­more.”

“As scary as it sounds, that was one of the things that went through my mind was: ‘Oh my gosh, I’m not go­ing to be able to tan any­more.”’

From around age 16, Con­nors had fre­quented tanning sa­lons, pay­ing vis­its three times a week. She started out first us­ing lie-down tanning beds which took 20 min­utes then switched to the stand-up booths which took about half the time.

“I felt bet­ter, I thought I looked bet­ter with a tan, but just the feel­ing too, the heat, the warmth, know­ing that you were tanning was one of the things I en­joyed, too.”

Now 36, Con­nors is part of a new cam­paign by the Cana­dian Der­ma­tol­ogy As­so­ci­a­tion which fea­tures melanoma sur­vivors en­cour­ag­ing young women to learn the facts about in­door tanning.

The CDA has long ad­vo­cated against in­door tanning use. But with its “In­door Tanning is Out” cam­paign, launched Mon­day, the or­ga­ni­za­tion rep­re­sent­ing Canada’s der­ma­tol­o­gists is tar­get­ing its mes­sage to­ward young women.

The as­so­ci­a­tion says melanoma has be­come the third most com­mon form of can­cer among young Cana­dian women.

Con­nors and three other melanoma sur­vivors in their 20s will be among those fea­tured in posters shar­ing their ex­pe­ri­ences. TV and ra­dio PSAs will be aired un­til June, in­clud­ing March Break and pre-prom, when the CDA says many young peo­ple seek­ing tans use in­door tanning equip­ment.

Dr. Ch­eryl Rosen, na­tional di­rec­tor of the CDA’s Sun Aware­ness Pro­gram, said it seemed most log­i­cal to fo­cus on young women in their teens and 20s as they seemed to be among those who most fre­quently use in­door tanning fa­cil­i­ties.

Part of the is­sue is that for many peo­ple, hav­ing a tan is cor­re­lated to beauty, she said.

“We did fo­cus groups a while ago that showed peo­ple felt a tan made them look sex­ier, made them look more beau­ti­ful,” Rosen said.

“The tan is cer­tainly val­ued by many peo­ple and our mes­sage is be happy with the colour skin you’re born with be­cause tanning is a re­sponse to the skin of be­ing in­jured. Tanning is a way our skin pro­tects it­self.”

Rosen said der­ma­to­log­i­cal groups have been work­ing to­ward hav­ing tanning de­vices banned for those 18 years of age and un­der. New Brunswick is cur­rently the only ju­ris­dic­tion in Canada that pro­hibits those un­der 18 from us­ing tanning beds.

Last year, a work­ing group of the WHO’s In­ter­na­tional Agency of Re­search on Can­cer classified ul­tra­vi­o­let-emit­ting tanning de­vices as “car­cino­genic to hu­mans.” Tanning beds and UV ra­di­a­tion were moved into the high­est can­cer risk cat­e­gory.

Anal­y­sis of more than 20 epi- demi­o­log­i­cal stud­ies re­vealed the risk of skin can­cer in­creased by 75 per cent when the use of tanning de­vices starts be­fore the age of 30, the work­ing group found.

The group said the find­ings re­in­forced cur­rent WHO rec­om­men­da­tions to avoid sun­lamps and tanning par­lours as well as to steer clear of sun over­ex­po­sure.

But the pres­i­dent of Canada’s largest in­door tanning com­pany dis­putes the links made be­tween melanoma and UV ex­po­sure.

“As it re­lates to melanoma and UV light, there is cor­rel­a­tive ev­i­dence but cor­re­la­tion does not mean cau­sa­tion,” Doug McNabb of Fabu­tan Sun Tan Stu­dios said in a phone in­ter­view from Cal­gary on Mon­day.

“There are stud­ies that show cor­re­la­tion, just as there would be if you did swim­ming and drown­ing, but that does not mean cau­sa­tion.”

Shortly af­ter the re­moval of the can­cer­ous spot on her leg, Con­nors had to have a wider sec­tion of skin around the le­sion re­moved.

In the years since, she has had treat­ment for two other melanomas — one each on her neck and back— and con­tin­ues to go for rou­tine fol­lowups.

While she has stopped in­door tanning, the spots still con­tinue to sur­face. She just re­cently had an­other mole re­moved and is await­ing di­ag­no­sis.

Con­nors now en­sures when she’s out­side that she pro­tects her­self, us­ing self-tan­ners along with sun­screen.

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