Exposing our skin to the sun's ultraviolet rays unfortunately can give rise to a multitude of adverse health effects. Our skin's ability to produce melanin serves as buffer by absorbing those nasty UV rays. But how exactly does our skin know when it's being exposed to UV light? Well, apparently it can see it. [more inside]
"In 2006, Mr. Snow had Stage 3 melanoma, a disease usually found in people three decades older." A short New York Times piece on a young couple going through the end of a cancer diagnosis. Make sure you watch the video in the multimedia column.
Oliver Sacks is surviving cancer of the eye, ocular melanoma. In his latest book, The Mind’s Eye, he "tells the stories of people who are able to navigate the world and communicate with others despite losing what many of us consider indispensable senses and abilities." In the interview, Sacks talks about his diagnosis, the after-effects of his radiation treatment (which include hallucinations that resolve themselves into words if he "smokes a little pot"), his apprenticeships with poets W.H. Auden and Thom Gunn, and the importance of science writing in an age when the authority of science is being undermined by religious zealots. Via MeFi's own, Steve Silberman, digaman. [more inside]
Rose bengal is a red dye that has been used for decades to identify eye and liver damage. A company, Provectus Pharmaceuticals, has developed a drug based on this compound, which clinical trials show may be able to destroy advanced melanoma with minimal risks. Melanoma is an extremely dangerous form of skin cancer. The company hopes to extend this drug to other cancers as well as to other skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, for which poor treatment solutions exist. Claims such as these inspire skepticism, but the melanoma trials have been conducted by some of the most eminent names in the melanoma community. Does this drug hold potential, or is the whole thing snake oil?
A young man's cancer fight. Let me offer my condensed summary of cancer. Maybe they could print it on a little card and distribute it in lieu of the sappy brochures: Congratulations, you have cancer! Your life is about to turn upside down. It causes a lot of stress, and many patients crash and burn horribly. Chemotherapy can save your life, but in the process it'll make you feel like you've been run over by a Hummer. Alternately, your doctors may choose to irradiate you in one of several ways, which is not altogether unlike being shoved into a microwave oven on "high" for a few minutes. Your medications probably won't make you feel better, so do yourself a favor and buy some weed. Get used to needles; you're going to be poked with a lot of them. Be strong, and you might live. Good luck! (John Reeves Hall, 1980-2005)