Skin cancer, an unwelcome diagnosis that upended my world, forced me to confront my negligence toward sun protection. The wake-up call arrived when a diligent physician pointed out an ominous mole during a routine meeting. In that moment, my reality shifted, and I became a living testament to the repercussions of sun overexposure. As someone prone to skin cancer due to a genetic predisposition—green eyes, fair skin, and a history of sunburns—I was a ticking time bomb.
Despite growing up in a family deeply rooted in the medical field, I turned a blind eye to the warnings. Unprotected under the California sun, my skin became a canvas for countless burns and freckles. It wasn't until a dermatologist uttered the words, "You have melanoma," that I confronted the gravity of my situation. However, luck was on my side—it was the early, contained form of melanoma, offering a simpler treatment plan.
Opting for surgery under the guidance of a specialized melanoma expert, I embarked on a path of recovery and reflection. This journey urged me to reassess my lifestyle and take proactive measures to safeguard my health. Embracing sunscreen as a daily ritual and donning protective clothing became my armor against the sun's harmful rays. Regular skin checks every three months unveiled precancerous growth, reinforcing the significance of vigilant monitoring.
In my pursuit of holistic wellness post-melanoma, insights from naturopathic doctors illuminated supplemental strategies to fortify my defense against cancer. Here's what I've learned:
Vitamin D: Sustaining blood levels between 50-80 ng/dL through dietary sources like mushrooms, salmon, and eggs, supplemented by Vitamin D3 if needed, holds potential preventive prowess against melanoma. Research indicates a correlation between adequate 25-OH vitamin D levels and improved prognoses in both primary and metastatic melanomas. Routine blood spot tests offer a convenient means to monitor Vitamin D levels.
Melatonin: Often associated with sleep regulation, melatonin emerges as a skin ally, safeguarding against UV rays and oxidative damage. Topical melatonin application demonstrated sunburn protection, emphasizing its role in shielding DNA from neoplastic threats caused by sun exposure.
Diurnal Rhythms: Monitoring diurnal cortisol and melatonin rhythms assumes significance in mitigating cancer risks, including skin cancer. Studies have underscored the association between dysregulated rhythms and various cancers, prompting the need for vigilance in this regard.
Embracing change entailed shedding the sun-worshipper persona and embracing a newfound appreciation for protective attire. Advocating for regular skin checks and heightened awareness during Melanoma Awareness Month, I urge individuals with a similar history to prioritize skin health.
My journey post-melanoma is a testament to the transformative power of mindfulness, lifestyle alterations, and leveraging supplementary support to fortify defences against potential health threats. Nurturing skin health isn't just a personal commitment; it's a call to action for everyone to safeguard their well-being against the sun's unforgiving influence.
Let's make skin health a priority today to secure a resilient tomorrow—because the benefits outweigh the risks.
Note: This Blog is inspired from Lissa Gienty's blog "How to Supplement with Vitamin D & Melatonin after Melanoma. "ZRT Laboratory.