MEF Receives Grants to Provide Facial Skin Analyzer Machines to



MEF Receives Grants to Provide Facial Skin Analyzer Machines to
Christine Hurley
to Headline
Comedy Night
Page 7
MEF Receives Grants to Provide
Facial Skin Analyzer Machines
to Massachusetts North Shore
High Schools
Also in this Issue…
 2 Follow-up to “Melanoma
Mimics” Article (MEF
News, Fall 2015)
he Melanoma Education Foundation of Peabody, Massachusetts
has received grants from Boston North Cancer Association and
the North Shore Community Health Network to provide facial skin
analyzer machines to 26 North Shore high schools to supplement
their melanoma lessons. “We are very grateful to these wonderful
organizations for their support,” said MEF President Stephen Fine.
 5 Vitamin D and
Sunscreen: A Personal
The facial skin analyzers reinforce MEF’s Melanoma Lesson by
providing students with instant visual feedback about the damage
caused to their skin by excessive UV exposure. Several analyzers
have already been delivered to the schools; the remainder will be
delivered this spring, when the majority of schools present the
MEF Melanoma Lesson. The free lessons are currently used in
over 1,700 middle and high schools in 49 states. g
 6 Melanoma in Dogs
and Cats
My Personal Experience with
Melanoma and the MEF Lesson
 6 Moles and Sun:
A Bad Combination
 7 Run the 2016 TCS New
York City Marathon by
Supporting MEF
7 Christine Hurley to
Headline Comedy Night
9 Calendar of Events
By Janda Ricci-Munn
Health Teacher, Manchester-Essex Middle School
n mid-September of 2010, my life was forever changed. My wife, Michelle, and I had just returned
from a two day hiking trip in the White Mountains of New Hampshire that saw us cover roughly
twenty miles of rugged terrain along the Presidential Range. I had left for the trip knowing that
my 71-year-old father, Jim Munn, a writer and long-time Track & Field coach at Gloucester High
School, had been scheduled to undergo evaluation for a suspicious “cyst” that had been detected
on his left upper chest region six months prior. Despite my father’s age, he was an extremely
continued on page 3
Innocent-Looking Melanomas
ust as there are some lesions that look like melanomas but aren’t, there are some lesions that
may look benign but are not. Most of these lesions fall into the broad subcategory of nodular
melanomas. They are especially dangerous because they are sometimes invasive from the outset,
and often lack the ABCD warning signs of the more common radial melanomas.
All three of the melanomas at right were fatal;
the one on the far right was on the ankle of a
12-year-old boy. Although the majority of nodular
melanomas do not exhibit ABCD warning signs
they usually have all three EFG warning signs:
E: Elevated above the skin surface, F: Firm to the touch; not soft or flabby, and G: Growing for
more than two or three weeks.
Desmoplastic melanoma (left) is a rare type of melanoma
that usually develops slowly and may exhibit unpigmented
scar-like bumps, often on exposed areas of the head and
neck. Patients often don’t notice them until they are large,
by which time they may have metastasized to the lungs.
Merkel cell carcinoma (below right) is a rare type of skin cancer that is not melanoma but is
equally lethal when not found early. This cancer grows rapidly and quickly spreads to other
parts of the body. The appearance is typically a fleshcolored or red-blue nodule that tends to develop on the
face, head, or neck of older people with light skin. Sun
exposure and/or a weakened immune system are risk
factors for MCC but it can also develop on other parts
of the body, even where sun exposure is not a factor. g
Left/middle: Copyright © Mayo Foundation for Education and Research
Right: Copyright ©
Spring 2016
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ermatologist Dr. Phillip Ellerin, a member of our Professional Advisory Board, pointed
out that keratoacanthoma (far left) is now regarded as a low-grade squamous cell carcinoma and is no longer considered a benign lesion. He also
advised that lesions that look like black seborrheic keratoses (near left) can occasionally be a subtype of melanoma
or may degenerate into a squamous cell carcinoma. These
lesions should always be biopsied, not just removed. g
My Personal Experience with Melanoma
and the MEF Lesson
continued from front cover
vibrant, intellectually engaged
and physically active man who
had no problem keeping pace
(energy-wise, at least!) with
the hundreds of young people
he coached on an annual basis.
Simply put, my dad was full
of life and the number “71”
in no way defined him. I had
left for the hiking trip with
the complete expectation that
his follow-up visit to the doctor’s office would be nothing
more than routine; the word
“melanoma” shattered that
expectation, and along with it,
my family.
The news he shared… left
me in complete and utter
disbelief: ‘Son, I have ten
tumors in my brain, along
with tumors in my bones
and intestines; I have
stage four melanoma.’
My father’s death left me
completely devastated, and
in many ways, I continue to
struggle with his loss. We
were extremely close and he
had supported me in every one
of my life’s endeavors, from
childhood right up through
full adulthood. My brothers
will echo that sentiment. I
resent the fact that my children
will never know their grandfather and that my brothers
and I will never again be able
to share time and experiences
with our dad.
My father’s passing played
a major role in my decision
to return to my career as a
Health teacher at ManchesterEssex Middle/High School.
Watching him waste away
from melanoma inspired
me to reflect upon my own
life, and realize the value
and gratification that can be
found in an occupation that is
devoted to service for others.
I had left teaching for three
years to pursue opportunities
as an athlete and coach. After
my father passed away, I knew
that a return to teaching would
be the best way to honor his
legacy and to continue his
work of helping young people.
continued on page 4
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I had talked to my father
briefly while sitting on top
of the Presidential Range
during the first day of our
hike. I had called him to
report in on the wonderful
conditions (the skies were
perfectly clear and visibility
extended for miles!) we were
enjoying and to inquire about
how things had gone with the
doctor. My dad peppered me
with questions about our trip,
and promised to fill me in on
the results of his evaluation
when I returned home. Once
back home in Gloucester,
MA, talk in person we did,
and the news he shared with
me left me in complete and
utter disbelief: “Son, I have
ten tumors in my brain, along
with tumors in my bones and
intestines; I have stage four
melanoma.” Despite the grim
news, my father, always the
optimist, had resolved to battle
the disease with full conviction and to remain at all times
positive. In my mind, however,
I knew that the diagnosis
was nothing short of a death
sentence. Roughly six months
later, after watching my father’s
body degrade under the ravages of chemotherapy, radiation
treatment and the continuing
advancement of the cancer,
he was gone.
My Personal Experience with Melanoma
and the MEF Lesson
continued from page 3
I take great pride
in knowing that his
death… has helped me
as an educator to better
understand melanoma,
and to passionately teach
young people about the
disease and the best ways
to defend themselves
against it. Janda Ricci-Munn
Health Teacher,
Manchester-Essex Middle School
bodies thanks in part to
our education efforts and
early detection. I am thrilled
to report that all affected
students are now completely
healthy. On a personal note,
the information provided by
MEF even helped my own
brother, Corey, to detect his
melanoma early and spare our
family from what could have
been another tragedy.
In closing, I am grateful
for the opportunity to
help educate others about
melanoma, and look forward
to continuing my work as
a health teacher here at
MERMHS. I would like
to thank the Melanoma
Education Foundation from
the bottom of my heart for the
all that they do to help educate
others about this dreadful
disease. I remain steadfast
in my belief that education is
the key to prevention when
it comes to skin cancer, and
most health maladies for
that matter, and am thankful
for the support MEF lends
to school districts like ours,
nationwide. g
Spring 2016
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As I sit here and confront the
sad memories of my father’s
final days, I take great pride
in knowing that his death,
which at the time of this
writing occurred almost
exactly five years ago to this
day, has helped me as an
educator to better understand
melanoma, and to passionately
teach young people about the
disease and the best ways to
defend themselves against
it. Our school district has
been incredibly fortunate
to have received generous
support from the Melanoma
Education Foundation over
the course of the past four
and a half years, and I owe
them a great debt of gratitude
for more reasons than one.
The MEF educational videos,
lesson plans and handouts
have helped us to educate
countless students, families,
staff members and the greater
Cape Ann community about
the dangers of melanoma and
skin cancer. Since returning to
teaching in September of 2011,
my school has had no fewer
than five students who have
had pre-cancerous, and in one
case, cancerous (melanoma),
moles removed from their
Vitamin D and Sunscreen: A Personal Perspective
By Stephen A. Fine
President, Melanoma Education Foundation
few years ago, as part of a physical exam, I had my Vitamin D level tested and learned it
was below normal—not surprising in light of my intentional avoidance of sun exposure. Not
wanting to increase my risk of skin cancer by increasing UV exposure, I began taking 1,000 IU
Vitamin D gel supplements once a day. Two months later, my Vitamin D level was retested and
it was right in the middle of the normal range.
The Vitamin D generated by sun exposure of the skin of all warm-blooded animals is exactly
the same as the Vitamin D found in humans and in supplements. Vitamin D supplements are
made by a process that begins with exposure of sheepskin to UVB radiation (the component of
sunlight that causes sunburn).
The notion that sun exposure is required to provide Vitamin D is incorrect. What is correct is
that sunscreen, as applied by most of us, does not prevent all Vitamin D formation because hardly anyone applies sunscreen heavily enough to achieve the rated SPF. Studies done in Norway
and Sweden a few years ago showed there is a sharply decreasing relationship between achieved
SPF and the amount of sunscreen applied. Most of the population studied only used one-third to
one-fourth of the amount needed to realize the rated SPF. Using one-fourth of the needed amount
of an SPF 100 sunscreen would result in a true SPF of only 3.1, the fourth root of 100!
Recently I read an ad for Solar D, a sunscreen that claims to allow just enough sunlight exposure
for Vitamin D production but not enough to harm the skin. UVB radiation causes sunburns and
has a wavelength range of 280–320 nanometers (nm). Optimum Vitamin D production occurs at
a wavelength range of 290–310 nm.
At left, the transmittance chart for Solar D products (orange dashed
lines) and other sunscreens (solid lines) shows relatively high transmittance of Solar D in the UVB range and lower transmittance in the
UVA range (> 320 nm). But compared with the best high SPF broad
spectrum sunscreens (solid navy blue lines), Solar D provides less
protection, especially in the UVB sunburn range.
As for me, I’m going to keep taking Vitamin D softgels. g
Spring 2016
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If you still want to generate Vitamin D by sun exposure rather than
with Vitamin D supplements, just use sunscreen the way you usually
do, or rely on incidental exposure without sunscreen. Either way, more than enough UVB will
be generated to take care of your needs.
Moles and Sun: A Bad Combination
Condensed from an international study led
by UCSF researchers (November 2015)
Genetically, mutations were found in every stage of melanoma progression. Even
in benign moles a mutation was found
(BRAF-600E). More mutations were found
in non-invasive (in-situ melanomas) and
intermediate lesions (which some pathologists consider benign while others consider
malignant), and the greatest number of
mutations were found in fully developed
n international team of scientists led by
University of California, San Francisco
researchers has mapped out the genetic
pathways taken by melanoma as it evolves
from early benign skin lesions to malignant
skin cancer.
The research reaffirms the role of sun
exposure in the development of precursor
lesions, such as common moles, but also
suggests that continued UV exposure of
benign precursor lesions may push them
on a path toward malignancy.
“Kids who are in the sunlight more tend to
have a greater number of benign moles, and
if they continue to stay in the sunlight, those
moles are more likely to progress to melanoma,” said one of the lead UCSF researchers
in the study. g
Melanoma in Dogs and Cats
elanoma is a fairly common malignancy in dogs but less common in cats. It can occur on
the skin, in the eyes, in nail beds, and in the mouth. As in humans, early detection is the
best way to combat melanoma in pets. Cutaneous melanoma (on skin) is most common in dogs
and cats with white hair, especially when the hair is very short. It is also occurs in black dogs
and cats. It is advisable to limit prolonged sun exposure for pets with very short hair.
Melanoma is the most common tumor found in the mouth
of dogs and the second most common tumor found on the
toes. There is a predisposition of male dogs and of certain
breeds including Scottish terriers, Cocker Spaniels,
Gordon Setters, Chow Chows, and Golden retrievers.
Canine oral melanoma and canine toe melanoma
continued on page 7
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The most common signs of oral canine melanoma are
noticeable swelling in the mouth, increased salivation, facial swelling, weight loss, bad breath,
pain, inability to eat, dropping food from the mouth, and loose teeth. Oral melanoma masses may
be pigmented (black) or pink to white in color. The first sign of canine melanoma on toes is often
Melanoma in
Dogs and Cats
continued from page 6
swelling. There may also be loss of
a toenail or limping on the affected
leg. The tumors are often black.
Less than three percent of skin
tumors and less than one percent of
oral tumors in cats are melanomas.
tend to occur
in the eyes of
cats more often
than in other
lumps or
other lesions
Feline ocular melanoma
on a dog or
cat should always be examined by
a veterinarian without delay. g
s an official charity partner of the New York
Road Runners Association, MEF was granted
20 openings to enlist runners for the 2016 TCS
New York City Marathon. Each
runner’s fundraising commitment is $3,000, the lowest
required by NYRR.
The New York City Marathon
is the world’s most prestigious
marathon, and one of the most
difficult to enter. Running it is the experience of a
We are accepting applications to run in
the marathon and, as of this writing, have already
enrolled six runners. If you would like to run,
email Debi Facchetti at [email protected], or
call 718-775-7297. Spots are expected to be filled
rapidly, so don’t delay! g
Christine Hurley to Headline Comedy Night
Artie Januario, Graig Murphy Also Join MEF Benefit
Fifth Annual
Keri McCarthy
Comedy Night Melanoma Fundraiser
The annual fundraiser honors lives lost to melanoma and is open to the public. All proceeds
benefit our program of free lessons on melanoma early self-detection and prevention currently
used in over 1,700 middle and high schools in 49 states. g
Spring 2016
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When: Friday, April 29, 2016, 7:00 P.M.
Where: Montvale Plaza, Stoneham, MA
he Fifth Annual Keri McCarthy Comedy
Night Melanoma Fundraiser will feature
Boston-area comedian Christine Hurley, joined
by Artie Januario and Graig Murphy. The show
includes a full buffet dinner, raffle prize baskets,
a live auction, a 50/50 raffle, and more.
Keri McCarthy
F I F TH a n nual co medy nIG H T
m e l a n o m a F u n d r aIs er
April 29, 2016
7:00–11:30 P.M.
Christin y
Montvale Plaza
54 Montvale Avenue
Stoneham, MA
60 per person
(includes complete buffet dinner)
Tables of 12 may be reserved in advance
Order tickets online:
jan ario
By phone: 978-535-3080
Or mail check to:
MEF Comedy Show
P.O. Box 2023
Peabody, MA 01960
p hy
All proceeds benefiting
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00 in
$10,0 PrizES!
w w w. s k i n c h e c k . o rg
Spring 2016
Calendar of Events
Fifth Annual Keri McCarthy Comedy Night Melanoma Fundraiser,
Montvale Plaza, Stoneham, MA
Order tickets at
May 1–June 30, 2016
July Calendar Raffle Sales
Prize calendar and ticket-ordering information to be posted at
July 24, 2016
MEF Annual BBQ Meeting, Peabody, MA
If you would like to meet us and learn more about MEF, you are welcome to
attend our open board meeting with no obligation. Email [email protected]
November 6, 2016
2016 TCS New York City Marathon
Contact race director Debi Facchetti by email at [email protected] or by
phone at 718-775-7297 to apply for a charity runner spot.
P.O. Box 2023
Peabody, MA 01960
tel. 978-535-3080 | fax 978-535-5602
[email protected]
w w w. s k i n c h e c k . o rg
w w w. m e l a n o m a e d u c a t i o n . n e t
The Melanoma Education Foundation is a nonprofit preventive health organization that saves lives by promoting
greater awareness of melanoma and the importance of early self-detection. The Foundation, which was incorporated as a nonprofit 501(c) (3) organization in Massachusetts in August 2000, evolved from a father’s website
tribute to his son, Dan Fine of Peabody, who died of melanoma in 1998 at the age of 26.
Stephen A. Fine
Aron Fine
MEFNEWS is published in the spring and fall of each year. If you or someone you know
would like to subscribe, and did not receive this newsletter directly, send an email request
to [email protected] with name and email address and “Subscribe” as the subject line.
Copyright © 2016 Melanoma Education Foundation. All rights reserved.
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April 29, 2016

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