The sad thing is that most runners do not even take any precautions. It's just like driving your car down the highway at 90 miles an hour without a seat belt!
Park Ridge, IL (PRWEB) July 21, 2016
The summer is in full bloom. Marathon season begins in the spring and hits its peak during the summer to fall months throughout the United States. According to Running USA, there were over 16 million event finishers in the US in 2015. Between participants and onlookers there is often quite a crowd. Among all the bottled water, bananas, chips, power bars and massages served at these events, Dr. Speron also recommends a skin exam. Why? Because studies show that there is a dramatically increased risk for everyone present there to develop Melanoma, which is by far the most dangerous skin cancer.
Melanoma originates in the skin cells called melanocytes which create melanin pigment. Melanin is what gives human skin a shade of color and also protects it from UV rays. On a basic level, if skin receives too much UV light (from the sun or tanning booths), the melanocytes begin to grow abnormally fast and can become cancerous. The end result can be Melanoma.
An Austrian research team studied 210 white male & female marathon runners against 210 white male & female non-marathon runners. Each person was given total body skin exams, was surveyed about their habits, skin cancer family history, sun sensitivity, as well as observed for traits such as eye color, skin type and change in moles. The final study results revealed that runners had more abnormal moles (large, asymmetrical), more lesions suggestive of basal and squamous cell carcinoma and more solar lentigines (age spots or liver spots). All of these indicators are high risk factors for developing Melanoma.
Dr. Sam Speron, a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and skin cancer doctor, states many runners visit his office all year long but even during the summer months and he recommends all marathon runners get regular skin exams.
Why would this be true? Well, obviously runners are exposed to the sun much more than the average person. They typically only train with short sleeved shirts and shorts which increases their overall sun exposure. They train on average 25-45 hours a week. Only a little more than 50% of marathoners use any form of sunblock. Finally, this high intensity activity can deplete the runners' immune system which makes them more vulnerable to sun damage.
"80% of sun damage occurs in the first 18 years of life," says Dr. Sam Speron, plastic surgery expert and consumer advocate. "The long term skin damage someone in their 20's, 30's or 40's does while running outdoors unprotected by clothes or sunblock is not even fully appreciated until it’s too late. More education on this topic is sorely needed as thousands of innocent people are at increased risk by doing what they enjoy. Prevention and early diagnosis are key. The sad thing is that most runners do not even take any precautions. It's just like driving your car down the highway at 90 miles an hour without a seat belt!"
The initial suspicion for a melanoma is usually a change in the size, shape, or color of a mole. However, melanoma can also appear on the body as a new mole. The most common locations are on the head and neck, upper body and legs but it can occur anywhere.
If you are worried that you might have Melanoma or have an oddly shaped mole, it is always best to seek professional advice. Many cities and local organizations offer complimentary skin care consultations at certain times of the year. If you want a more immediate interaction you should consult with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon: Check with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) for a referral in your area (http://www.PlasticSurgery.org or 888-4-PLASTIC).
For further information or to have a free skin consultation at Dr. Speron’s office, please call us at 847 696 9900, email us at prplastic(at)yahoo(dot)com or visit http://www.prplastic.com.
Dr. Speron is the founder and medical director of Dr. Speron Plastic Surgery and the Park Ridge Medical Spa. He is board certified with the American Board of Plastic Surgery and an active member of both the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS).