KRON 4 | Skin Cancer Kills — Don’t Let It Get You

One third of U.S. adults are getting sunburned each year which raises their risk of skin cancer. Getting just one sunburn every two years can triple your risk of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. I was diagnosed with skin cancer in August 2013. For my story, click here.

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Three Major Types of Skin Cancer

  • Melanoma (most aggressive and deadly) — Men are more likely to DIE of melanoma than women. 
  • Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) – Most common
  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) – 2nd most that

Researchers believe that men are more vulnerable to melanoma than women due to the differences in their skin. Men tend to have thicker skin with less fat beneath it and it contains more proteins (collagen and elastin). These are the fibers that give skin their youthful appearance as they provide firmness and keep it tight. Perhaps why some men seem to age more gracefully than women?

A man’s skin is more prone to melanoma than a woman’s skin.

But here’s the bad news… researchers are correlating these skin differences to being more likely to be damaged by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. A study conducted in the Netherlands found that men’s skin reacted more intensely to UV rays than did women’s skin. A separate study reached the same conclusion.

How My Cancer Saved My Husband’s Life

Cancer of the skin is the most common of all types of cancer. I was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma five years ago (August 2013) and have not had any recurrences or new lesions. Here’s what happened to me: Why I’m Now a Statistic.

When I was diagnosed, it shocked my family because beginning in my mid-20’s, I became a sunscreen fanatic (a.k.a. the Sunscreen Police). After my diagnosis, I cunningly managed to get my husband to make an appointment for his first skin cancer screening. As a competitive swimmer in his youth and a ‘sunscreen resistor’, if I could have cancer, he was also at risk.

As a result, my husband was diagnosed with MELANOMA. Fortunately, because his cancer was caught early (Stage 0), the cells were only found in the outer layer of his skin. To put this in perspective, melanoma at Stage 3 has spread to the lymph nodes. Melanoma is an aggressive, fast-growing, deadly form of cancer. It can grow rapidly within WEEKS! You must be diligent and act fast.

What Is Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)?

  • Basal cell carcinoma accounts for 8 out of 10 skin cancers and usually develops on areas exposed to the sun, such as the head, face and neck, but they can occur anywhere. 
  • It affects people of all ages.
  • Grows slowly and it’s very rare for basal cell carcinoma to spread to nearby lymph nodes or to distant parts of the body. 
  • It is malignant because BCC invades and causes significant destruction of surrounding tissues and bone as it goes deep beneath the skin and can be disfiguring.
  • Over 50% of the people diagnosed with one basal cell cancer will develop a new skin cancer within five years.

My Treatment

The Mohs technique was used to remove my cancer because it was on my nose and this surgery could retain as much healthy tissue as possible. Mohs is appropriate where there are limited underlying layers of skin tissue. It is the best treatment for therapeutic and cosmetic results. Here’s more on my Mohs surgery. On the other hand, my husband’s melanoma (which was on his arm and visually quite small) was surgically removed with a very wide excision.

Skin Cancer Prevention 

Don’t brush off any changes on your skin as “nothing”. Protect yourself and your children.

1. Limit ultraviolet (UV) exposure. Whether you’re 8 or 80, have fair or dark skin, you need sunscreen if you’ll be out in the sun for LONGER THAN A FEW MINUTES. UVA rays age cells and can damage cells’ DNA. UVB rays can directly damage DNA and are a more potent cause of sunburns and skin cancer. To protect yourself, follow the “Slip, Slop, Slap, and Wrap” catch phrase.    Continue reading “KRON 4 | Skin Cancer Kills — Don’t Let It Get You”

KRON 4 | Save Your Smile with an Anti-Aging Dental Diet

See how certain types of food can soften a chicken bone — just like your enamel. Your toothless grin at six may have been cute back then, but as an adult, it’s not so adorable. Check out my ‘chicken bone experiment’ to demonstrate dental health to Marty Gonzalez, anchor of KRON 4 Weekend News. We all know that candy and sweets aren’t good for your teeth, but preventing tooth decay and preserving your aging teeth involve more than what NOT to eat…

Enamel Enemy No. 1 

Your enamel is the hard outer layer on your teeth that protects them from harmful acids. Your teeth are covered with a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. When sugars from the food you eat/drink mix together with plaque, acid is formed. SUGAR + PLAQUE = ACID

  • Acids attack your teeth. Repeated attacks can cause the tooth enamel to break down (soften) which can lead to cavities. When acid levels in your mouth drop below 5.5 on the pH scale, tooth enamel begins to be destroyed.
  • On the pH scale (a measure of acidity in chemistry), 1 is a strong acid and 7 is neutral.

Coca-Cola is More Acidic than Vinegar

Everyday food and drinks contain varying amounts of acid and sugar (an acid producer). Acids dissolve the calcium and minerals out of bones to make them soft. Similarly, the acids that attack your teeth can erode your enamel (by removing minerals from the enamel) making them susceptible to wear, pain and decay.

pH levels of the following drinks:

  • Water = 7 (neutral)
  • Milk = 6.8
  • Fruit juices = 3.3 to 3.8
  • Vinegar = 2.9
  • Coca-Cola = 2.5 (with 9 1/3 teaspoons of added sugar in a 12-oz. can)

Foods that Build Strong Teeth

Foods that contain bone-building vitamins and minerals (e.g., magnesium, calcium, and vitamin D) will help you preserve your aging teeth.

1.  Magnesium
Magnesium is an especially important mineral in strengthening aging teeth and bones, so include plenty of:

  • Nuts, nut butters, seeds
  • Dried beans, lentils, whole grains
  • Green leafy vegetables. dried fruits

2.  Calcium and Vitamin D
In general, dairy products are good sources, but non-dairy foods are also excellent sources of bone-building calcium. They include:

  • Tofu
  • Sardines
  • Shrimp
  • Broccoli
  • Dark-green leafy green vegetables (e.g., kale, spinach, arugula, basil)

Pairings that Neutralize Acids

Foods that increase saliva production and neutralize acids will help keep your teeth healthy and strong. Pair acids in the following ways…    Continue reading “KRON 4 | Save Your Smile with an Anti-Aging Dental Diet”

KRON 4 | Does Your Voice Sound “Old”?

Have you ever talked to someone on the phone and determined the person is old just by the sound of his/her voice? You’ve likely heard an older person speak with that classic gravely, weak. raspy, wavering, hoarse, and/or breathless voice. When it comes to anti-aging, most people think about how to look younger and how to feel younger, but don’t usually think about how to “sound” younger.

As with everything else, your voice ages too, and most people don’t think about taking care of their ‘voice muscles’ like they do their biceps. On this KRON 4 health segment, Weekend News anchor, Marty Gonzalez, and I talk about how to keep your voice sounding “young”.

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Karen demonstrates how you produce vocal sounds.

Causes of Sounding Old

Over 30% of people over age 65 have voice problems. As you age, your larynx (a.k.a. voice box) changes. The following conditions may be causing your voice to become hoarse and weak causing you to sound “old”:

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    • Vocal cords are less elastic (just like aging skin and muscles) and are unable to work in the same way as when you were young. Your vocal cords move and vibrate to make sounds. When the surrounding muscles move, your vocal cords either tighten or loosen. To make higher sounds, your cords tighten.
    • Vocal cords and muscles in the larynx wear out and become more thin. As a result, your voice may sound higher.
    • Vocal cords are dry due to a decrease in blood supply and number of lubricating glands.
    • Weak abdominals – In order to form a sound, your abs and rib cage squeeze your lungs which make you exhale air.
    • Decreased lung capacity – By the time you’re 80, you may have 50% less volume compared to when you were 20.
    • Acid reflux can cause harshness, sore throat, cough.
    • Rheumatoid arthritis – This condition can lead to hoarseness because your vocal cords cannot move well. The inflammation limits the ability of the joint near your windpipe (cricoarytenoid joint) to move.
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Rheumatoid arthritis can inflame the joint in your windpipe and cause you to sound old.

KRON 4 Vocal Cords4    Continue reading “KRON 4 | Does Your Voice Sound “Old”?”

KRON 4 | Is Too Much Protein Aging You?

VIDEO:  You resolved to work out and build a better, stronger body this year. You’ve probably heard the regulars at the gym talk about the protein shakes they drink after a workout to pack on more muscle. Protein drinks are on the rise and generating huge profits, but do you know how much protein you actually need and that TOO much can age you? Weekend anchor Marty Gonzalez on “KRON 4 Morning News Weekend” talks with me for some answers.

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Protein is an important component of your diet and is necessary to build and maintain all types of body tissue, such as your skin, neurons, organs, and muscle. (Your heart is a muscle too.)

Here’s how to determine your protein needs per day.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have a medical condition, such as chronic kidney disease, diabetes or cancer, it’s essential to consult a registered dietician for your specific dietary requirements. Some dietitians specialize in kidney disease (renal dietician) or cancer (oncology dietician).

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Protein Math

To determine your weight in kilograms, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2. For example, if you weigh 165 pounds, your weight in kilograms (kg) is 165 divided by 2.2 = 75 kg.    Continue reading “KRON 4 | Is Too Much Protein Aging You?”

How to Slow Growing Old

Businessman Suffering From Shoulder PainIf you’ve ever moaned, “Ugh. It’s tough growing old.”, you’re likely in pain or you can’t do the things you used to do. But all is not lost! You can control how well you feel and how fast you age. However, before laying out the foundation of youth, here’s why your body is aging in the first place.

Blame It On Blood Sugar

One of the key suspects in what causes your cells to deteriorate is your own circulating blood sugar (glucose). In a process called glycation, these glucose molecules cling to proteins, and a chain of chemical reactions take place in your body. The end result? Proteins clump together, known as crosslinked proteins, which accumulate over time and disrupt the normal functioning of your cells.

Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs)

These “crosslinks”, also known as advanced glycation end products (AGEs) or glycotoxins, seem to ‘stiffen’ tissues. A stiff body is an aging body. But remember my mantra: “Your age is a given. Growing old is an option.” So don’t throw up your hands just yet. Read on…

Why You Get Stiff

Collagen is the most common and longest living protein molecule in your body. Skin care companies spend billions of dollars trying to replicate it and sell it as their revolutionary secret to erasing wrinkles. Collagen provides structure and support to not only your skin, but to your joints and organs as well.

In addition to AGEs, the following factors promote the breakdown of collagen resulting in skin laxity and wrinkling:

  • Hormone loss (estrogen levels decline after menopause)
  • Sun exposure
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Pollution
  • Other sources of free radicals

The condition of your skin is a good reflection of what’s going on internally. When glucose binds with collagen (part of the aging process), collagen loses its suppleness and becomes less flexible. As a result, your lungs, arteries, tendons, and other tissues stiffen. Stiff = Less efficient. For example, when your arteries are stiff, they lose their contractility and can’t pump as much blood through them due to their limited inability to expand and contract.

Age-Related Diseases Linked to AGEs      

Continue reading “How to Slow Growing Old”