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Our July 2012 newsletter (there’s something special for summer inside!)

skin cancer prevention

Cornerstone has exclusive technology for catching skin cancer


Learn more about Cornerstone’s exclusive technology, a special summertime offer, Jessica’s recent nerve-wracking leap, Dr. Dowd’s family vacation and some ideas for sweet treats.  It’s all in this month’s edition of In Your Corner: July 2012!

(Not so) Sweet Dreams – When a Good Night’s Sleep Isn’t so Good

 A study out this week in BMJ Open found an association between the use sleep medications and significantly higher mortality and cancer risks. Even the use of sleep medications fewer than 18 times per year was found to carry more than three times the mortality risk compared with no use. The risk seemed to be increased independent of things like smoking and alcohol use, and was seen with many different sleep medications. Click here to read a summary of the BMJ Open article.

True or False: Soda is okay if it is “diet”?

According to a recent study that followed 2500 people for 10 years, daily intake of diet sodas was associated with an increased risk of diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, obesity, and other vascular risks.  While this study was not completely conclusive, it does add to the growing body of research that suggests diet soda–like regular soda–is not doing our bodies any favors, and may be hurting us.

For a summary of the Journal of General Internal Medicine article click here:

Are you addicted to…Light?


Last year an Addiction Biology study looked at addiction and indoor UV tanning.   With the cold, dark days of winter upon us, and many people taking up tanning to keep a “healthy glow”, we thought taking a look at this study might shed some light on the subject.  The study found that people were able to tell if they received true UV light during their session or if it was false light.  If it was false, they exhibited the same desire to tan after their session as they did before they went under the light.  Furthermore the parts of the brain linked to addition lit up more when the tanners were exposed to the true UV lights.  The study was a pilot study, but it’s findings are nonetheless intriguing.

So if you’re thinking about tanning at a salon, please think twice and use caution–it seems that it can create a true “UV addiction.”  This, paired with UV radiation’s propensity to damage your skin and increase your risk of skin cancer, can be a dangerous combination.  If you find yourself craving some light during the winter months, take the opportunity to engage in fall/winter activities like walking in the park, skating, football, etc.

More details can be found in the Abstract.

FDA’s New Graphic Cigarette Warnings


Following up on our posts from back in November, the FDA recently released nine graphic images which, come next summer, will be required to be on all cigarette packages, cartons, and advertisements alongside their warning labels.  They’re intended to not only steer away potential smokers, but to actualize the risk of smoking.  What do you think?    To read the article and view the graphics, check out the Washington Post articleWarning: the images are graphic.


Skin Cancer Incidence Continues to Rise

Skin cancer is more than 15x more common than the next most common types of cancer, and the incidence is rising.  According to numbers presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, there were about 3.7 million skin cancers in 2009.  Unfortunately these numbers have been increasing each year.  Find out more here.  The incidence of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, appears to be underestimated based on a recent study: melanoma study.

At Cornerstone we believe skin cancer screening is very important.  We are the only primary care practice in Hampton Roads that offers digital mole mapping technology.  Want to learn more?  Contact us–we’d be happy to talk with you!

Melanoma May Be More Common Than Realized

This report caught my attention. Skin cancer is by far the most common kind of cancer, but the most dangerous kind, melanoma, is the least common of the 3 main skin cancers. However, melanoma wasn’t rare; it was already number 6 on list of most common cancers for both men and women in the U.S. This study suggests that the number of melanomas in the U.S. has been under-reported, possibly by a lot.

What does this mean for those of us who spend time in the sun or perhaps had a sunburn or two in their lives? In addition to wearing sun protection, it means skin cancer screening is something that should be a part of your regular medical care. At Cornerstone we take that job seriously and offer digital mole mapping to all of our patients. Interested? We’d love to tell you more about it.

NEW ORLEANS- National estimates of the incidence of malignant melanoma may be substantially off-base due to widespread underreporting of new cases to state cancer registries by dermatologists, results of a small survey suggest.

A survey of U.S. dermatologists indicates half are unaware of their legal obligation to report new cases of malignant melanoma to the cancer registries operative in all 50 states, Dr. Seema P. Kini reported at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Leaving aside the issue of familiarity with the legal reporting requirement, the survey also showed that 58% of responding dermatologists don’t report new cases of malignant melanoma to their state cancer registry and don’t know of anyone else in their practice doing so, added Dr. Kini of Emory University in Atlanta.

She and her coinvestigators conducted the survey at the cutaneous oncology symposium held during last year’s annual meeting of the AAD. Among the 424 dermatologists in attendance, 104 practicing in 30 states completed the survey.

Dermatologists in practice for less than 10 years were 3.3-fold more likely to be unaware of the existence of the legal mandate and the established reporting procedures in place in all 50 states than were more experienced practitioners.

Fifty-four percent of dermatologists indicated they had diagnosed nine or fewer new cases of melanoma during the previous year. They were 2.9-fold less likely to report new cases of melanoma to their state cancer registry and to be unaware of anybody in their practice who did so than were dermatologists who reported finding 10 or more melanomas in the prior year.

While conceding that the survey sample size is a limitation and a larger study investigating American dermatologists’ melanoma reporting practices is in order, this initial survey clearly suggests the existence of a problem, and that educational efforts aimed at improving melanoma reporting practices might well target younger physicians who diagnose fewer than 10 new melanomas annually, Dr. Kini concluded.

Dr. Kini declared having no relevant financial disclosures.

How to Reduce Cancer by 1/3rd

We talk a lot about how weight and lack of exercise play an important role in heart disease.  But there is actually evidence linking excessive weight and sedentary lifestyle to many other health problems.  For example, the American Institute for Cancer Research estimates that more than 1/3rd of common cancers could be prevented by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight.  The new USDA Dietary Guidelines just released support these same goals in their recommendations.  You can find a summary of the new guidelines here.

Breast Cancer Risk Calculator

Breast cancer risk can be estimated using this Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool from the National Cancer Institute.  Here’s a screenshot of the calculator:

Want to decrease your colon cancer risk?

A study of 55000 people published last month looked at the relationship between colon cancer and lifestyle.  This 10 year study identified 5 factors that together could have reduced the incidence of colon cancer in this group by almost one quarter.  What were the 5 factors? 1. Not smoking,  2. Exercising, 3. Limited alcohol intake, 4. Keeping your waist size in check, and 5. a diet with plenty of fruits & veggies and limited fat & red meat.  I guess our colons and our hearts both like the same stuff.  Want to read a little more? Check out