Dr. Len's Cancer Blog

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Dr. Len's Cancer Blog

The American Cancer Society

The Sad News About Tanning Beds And Sun Safe Behaviors: The Price We May Pay For Ignoring The Message

by Dr. Len May 11, 2012

Incredulous. Astounding. Unanticipated.


Those were my initial thoughts when I had a moment to read the two reports released yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the use of tanning beds and sunburn/sun protective behaviors.


I was completely unprepared for the results of the studies. And I am supposed to know this stuff.


As I mentioned in one of the interviews published on the topic, the information contained in those studies raised my concern and passion about the topic to a new level. And if you are aware of this issue, it should raise your concerns as well. If the trends on tanning bed use and failure to engage in sun safe behaviors continue, we could be in for a serious problem regarding skin cancer and melanoma in years to come.


Now we have information from the CDC that the situation is worse than many of us thought.More...

Filed Under:

Environment | Media | Prevention

Has Science Served Us Well When It Comes To The Prevention and Early Detection Of Cancer?

by Dr. Len May 02, 2012

As I write this, I am returning from a trip to Los Angeles where I participated yesterday in a panel discussion on the topic of cancer prevention and early detection. The occasion was the 2012 Global Conference sponsored by the Milken Institute. (If you are not familiar with this conference, it is probably one of the premier finance and investing conferences in the country, if not the world. And the luminaries in attendance--both as attendees and speakers--were a testament to the influence of the Institute and its founder, Michael Milken.)


I was on this panel through an invitation from the Melanoma Research Alliance and its chief executive, Wendy Selig, a former colleague of mine when she was at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.  Other participants included Dr. Stephen Gruber, who is the recently appointed director for the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles, Dr. Sancy Leachman who is the director of melanoma and cutaneous oncology at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, and Sherry Lansing who is the CEO of a foundation of the same name and a well-known cancer research advocate (she is very well known in the entertainment industry as the former head of Paramount Pictures and one of the people who conceived of Stand Up To Cancer which has done much to transform the landscape of cancer research in this country).


What made this event more interesting was that the audience was made up of those same financial and investing folks I mentioned above. As you might imagine, almost all the sessions were devoted to topics very relevant to their professional interests. The topic of the session I participated in was a bit off the usual target of the meeting. This session was not about investing--it was about health. I must admit that I was surprised at the number of attendees who joined us for our discussion, and even more pleasantly surprised that they remained engaged throughout our 90 minutes.


In what would have otherwise been a fairly typical recitation of facts about how cancer prevention and early detection can reduce the burden and suffering from cancer, a theme emerged: we as professionals are not doing our best in clarifying our advice about the prevention and early detection of cancer through cancer screening.


When you are sitting in a room with some very intelligent people realizing that our lack of clarity and conflicting recommendations on advising people what they need to do about their health, you begin to understand that we are facing a dilemma that could have a significant impact on how successful we are going to be in getting people to take action to reduce the risk of cancer or finding it early. More...

About Dr. Len

Dr. Len

J. Leonard Lichtenfeld, MD, MACP - Dr. Lichtenfeld is Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the national office of the American Cancer Society.