Categories
Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Plectranthus purpuratus

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Botanical Name: Plectranthus purpuratus
Family: Lamiaceae
Subfamily: Nepetoideae
Tribes: Ocimeae
Subtribes: Plectranthinae
Genus: Plectranthus
Subgenus: P. subg. Plectranthus
Sectio: P. sect. Plectranthus
Species: Plectranthus purpuratus

Common Name: Purple Spurflower, Vick’s Plant

Habitat : Plectranthus purpuratus is native to Eastern S Africa. It is grown on a cultivated bed.

Description:
Plectranthus purpuratus is a perennial   plant. It grows to a height of 1′  to 3′ and spreads tp 1′ to 3′. It can be grown under full sun to partly shed with midium moisture containt. It’s foilages are Colorful/Burgundy and showy and full of fragarance. It has various species.

Stems 12–14 in. high, branching, succulent and brittle, thinly puberulous or nearly glabrous; leaves 3/4 in. long, nearly as broad as long, in spreading subdistant decussate pairs, ovate or suborbicular, obtusely or obsoletely crenate, glabrous or nearly so, purple beneath; petioles 3–4 lin. long; inflorescence of paniculately arranged racemes; verticils laxly 6-flowered, not pedunculate; bracts 1 1/4 lin. long, 1/2 lin. broad, ovate-lanceolate, acute; pedicels 2 lin. long; fruiting calyx 3 lin. long; flowering calyx 1 1/4 lin. long, campanulate; upper tooth broadly ovate, acute; other 4 teeth lanceolate, 2 lower the longest; corolla white (Wood); tube 2 1/2 lin. long, nearly straight; upper lip 1 lin. long, 4-lobed and with crenate margins, 2 terminal lobes obovate, lateral lobes oblong rounded; lower lip as long as the upper; nutlets 3/4 lin. long and broad, subglobose, dark brown, almost black. null

Its spreading habit and richly colored leaves suit it for the outdoor garden in frost-free climates or a container in almost any climate.It has dark-green elongated, oval. sharp tipped leaves with serrated edges. When new, the leaves have a distinctive purple cast in certain seasons. The plant is vigorous with a prostrate habit, spreading or dangling gracefully. Being a tender plant, it must come indoors for the winter or be killed by even the mildest frost.

Though Purple Spurflower is grown as a foliage plant, it blooms off an on throughout the year with small pale purple flowers. If they interfere with the foliage effect they can be cut off at bud stage. This plant demands very well drained, light, humus rich soil with even moisture. Typical potting soil is ideally formulated, provided the container offers good drainage. Regular light fertilization keeps the foliage fresh and well colored. While this ground ivy takes full sun when grown in the diffused light and cooler temperatures of coastal regions, it will demand far more protection and bright shade in dry inland locales. Few plants cascade down large pots as nicely as this, offering vigorous foliage beauty for elegant compositions over a long season.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES:

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves can be steeped in boiling water to vaporize the characteristic oils which are then inhaled, helping to clear nasal and respiratory passages. The leaves can also be applied as a poultice, or prepared in petroleum jelly-based ointments. Vasoline petroleum jelly works well.
Other Uses: This plant is suitable for ground cover, bed & boder design. It is mosquito replant.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources
https://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Plectranthus_purpuratus
http://www.learn2grow.com/plants/plectranthus-purpuratus/
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm

http://plants.jstor.org/compilation/plectranthus.purpuratus

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Categories
Herbs & Plants

Poison ivy

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Botanical Name :  Rhus Toxicodendron
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Sapindales
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus:     Toxicodendron
Species: T. radicans

Synonyms: Poison Oak, Poison Vine, Toxicodendron radicans and Rhus radicans

Common Names : Poison ivy, Eastern Poison Oak

Habitat :  Poison ivy  grows throughout much of North America, including the Canadian Maritime provinces, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and all U.S. states east of the Rocky Mountains, as well as in the mountainous areas of Mexico up to around 1,500 m (4,900 ft) (caquistle or caxuistle is the Nahuatl term ). It is normally found in wooded areas, especially along edge areas where the tree line breaks and allows sunshine to filter through. It also grows in exposed rocky areas, open fields and disturbed areas.

It may grow as a forest understory plant, although it is only somewhat shade tolerant.  The plant is extremely common in suburban and exurban areas of New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and southeastern United States. The similar species T. diversilobum (western poison oak) and T. rydbergii (western poison ivy) are found in western North America.

Rhus Toxicodendron or Toxicodendron radicans rarely grows at altitudes above 1,500 m (4,900 ft), although the altitude limit varies in different locations. The plants can grow as a shrub up to about 1.2 metres (3.9 ft) tall, as a groundcover 10–25 cm (3.9–9.8 in) high, or as a climbing vine on various supports. Older vines on substantial supports send out lateral branches that may be mistaken for tree limbs at first glance.

It grows in a wide variety of soil types, and soil pH from 6.0 (acidic) to 7.9 (moderately alkaline). It is not particularly sensitive to soil moisture, although it does not grow in desert or arid conditions. It can grow in areas subject to seasonal flooding or brackish water.

It is more common now than when Europeans first arrived in North America. The development of real estate adjacent to wild, undeveloped land has engendered “edge effects”, enabling poison ivy to form vast, lush colonies in these areas. It is listed as a noxious weed in the US states of Minnesota and Michigan and in the Canadian province of Ontario.

Outside North America,Toxicodendron radicans is also found in the temperate parts of Asia, in Japan, Taiwan, the Russian islands of Sakhalin and the Kuriles, and in parts of China.

A study by researchers at the University of Georgia found that poison ivy is particularly sensitive to CO2 levels, greatly benefiting from higher CO2 in the atmosphere. Poison ivy’s growth and potency has already doubled since the 1960s, and it could double again once CO2 levels reach 560 ppm

Description:
There are numerous subspecies and/or varieties of T. radicans , which can be found growing in any of the following forms, all have woody stems:

* as a trailing vine that is 10–25 centimetres (3.9–9.8 in) tall
* as a shrub up to 1.2 metres (3 ft 11 in) tall
* as a climbing vine that grows on trees or some other support
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The deciduous leaves of T. radicans are trifoliate with three almond-shaped leaflets. Leaf color ranges from light green (usually the younger leaves) to dark green (mature leaves), turning bright red in fall; though other sources say leaves are reddish when expanding, turn green through maturity, then back to red, orange, or yellow in the fall. The leaflets of mature leaves are somewhat shiny. The leaflets are 3–12 cm (1.2–4.7 in) long, rarely up to 30 cm (12 in). Each leaflet has a few or no teeth along its edge, and the leaf surface is smooth. Leaflet clusters are alternate on the vine, and the plant has no thorns. Vines growing on the trunk of a tree become firmly attached through numerous aerial rootlets.[5] The vines develop adventitious roots, or the plant can spread from rhizomes or root crowns. The milky sap of poison ivy darkens after exposure to the air.

T. radicans spreads either vegetatively or sexually. It is dioecious; flowering occurs from May to July. The yellowish- or greenish-white flowers are typically inconspicuous and are located in clusters up to 8 cm (3.1 in) above the leaves. The berry-like fruit, a drupe, mature by August to November with a grayish-white colour. Fruits are a favorite winter food of some birds and other animals. Seeds are spread mainly by animals and remain viable after passing through the digestive tract.

Aids for identification:
The following four characteristics are sufficient to identify poison ivy in most situations: (a) clusters of three leaflets, (b) alternate leaf arrangement, (c) lack of thorns, and (d) each group of three leaflets grows on its own stem, which connects to the main vine.

The appearance of poison ivy can vary greatly between environments, and even within a single area. Identification by experienced people is often made difficult by leaf damage, the plant’s leafless condition during winter, and unusual growth forms due to environmental or genetic factors.

Various mnemonic rhymes describe the characteristic appearance of poison ivy:[8]

1.   “Leaflets three; let it be” is the best known and most useful cautionary rhyme. It applies to poison oak, as well as to poison ivy. Even though it is not always true.

2.   “Hairy vine, no friend of mine. ”

3.   “Berries white, run in fright” and “Berries white, danger in sight.

Cultivation : 
Succeeds in a well-drained fertile soil in full sun. Judging by the plants natural habitat, it should also succeed in poor acid soils and dry soils. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. Plants have brittle branches and these can be broken off in strong winds. Plants are also susceptible to coral spot fungus. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. This species is a small suckering shrub, it can spread freely in suitable conditions. There is some confusion over the correct name of this species. It is united with R. radicans (under that name) by some botanists whilst others split this species off into another genus, Toxicodendron, and unite it with R. radicans as Toxicodendron radicans. Many of the species in this genus, including this one, are highly toxic and can also cause severe irritation to the skin of some people, whilst other species are not poisonous. It is relatively simple to distinguish which is which, the poisonous species have axillary panicles and smooth fruits whilst non-poisonous species have compound terminal panicles and fruits covered with acid crimson hairs. The toxic species are sometimes separated into their own genus, Toxicodendron, by some botanists. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in hot water (starting at a temperature of 80 – 90c and allowing it to cool) prior to sowing in order to leach out any germination inhibitors. The stored seed also needs hot water treatment and can be sown in early spring in a cold frame[200]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings 4cm long taken in December and potted up vertically in a greenhouse. Good percentage. Suckers in late autumn to winter.

Edible Uses: Oil.

Medicinal Uses:
Part Used Medicinally: The fresh leaves, from which a fluid extract is prepared.

Constituents: The activity of the drug was formerly ascribed to a fixed oil, Toxicodendrol, but has been attributed more recently to a yellow resin, to which the name Toxicodendrin is applied.

It is Irritant, rubefacient, stimulant, narcotic.

R. Toxicodendron was introduced into England first in 1640, but not used as a medicine till 1798, when Du Fressoy, a physician at Valenciennes, had brought to his notice a young man, who had been cured of a herpetic eruption on his wrist of six years’ standing on being accidentally poisoned by this plant. He thereupon commenced the use of the plant in the treatment of obstinate herpetic eruptions and in palsy, many cases yielding well to the drug. Since then it has rapidly gained a place in general practice, meeting with some success in the treatment of paralysis, acute rheumatism and articular stiffness, and in various forms of chronic and obstinate eruptive diseases.

It is not official in the British Pharmacopoeia, but was formerly official in the United States Pharmacopceia. It is in extensive use by homoeopathists for rheumatism, ringworm and other skin disorders, and is considered by them one of the most useful remedies in a great majority of cases of Nettlerash, especially if caused by some natural predisposition of constitution, in which the eruption is due to the use of some particular food.

The fluid extract, prepared from the fresh leaves, is mostly given in the form of a tincture, in doses of 5 to 30 drops. In small doses it is an excellent sedative to the nervous system, but must be given with care, as internally it may cause gastric intestinal irritation, drowsiness, stupor and delirium.

It has been recommended in cases of incontinence of urine. For this, the bark of the root of R. aromatica is also employed very successfully, an infusion of 1 OZ. to a pint of boiling water being taken in wineglassful doses.

The fluid extract of R. Toxicodendron can be used as a vesicant or blister producer, like cantharides, mezeron, and oil of Mustard.

The best preparation is a concentrated alcoholic tincture made from the green plant in the strength of 1 in 4. The dose of 25 per cent tincture is given in 1 to 5 drops three times a day. A solid extract is not used owing to the extreme volatility of the active principles of the crude drug.

Its milky juice is also used as an indelible ink for marking linen, and as an ingredient of liquid dressings or varnishes for finishing boots or shoes, though R. venenata is more extensively used for the latter purpose.

Other Uses :
Dye; Ink; Mordant; Oil; Parasiticide; Tannin; Varnish.
The leaves are rich in tannin. They can be collected as they fall in the autumn and used as a brown dye or as a mordant. An oil is extracted from the seeds. It attains a tallow-like consistency on standing and is used to make candles. These burn brilliantly, though they emit a pungent smoke. The milky juice makes an excellent indelible marking ink for linen etc. It is also used as a varnish for boots and shoes.

Known Hazards: This plant contains toxic substances and skin contact with it can cause severe irritation to some people. The sap is extremely poisonous. The sap contains 3-N pentadecycatechnol. Many people are exceedingly sensitive to this, it causes a severe spreading dermatitis. The toxins only reach the skin if the plant tissues have been damaged, but even indirect contact can cause severe problems.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/i/ivypoi17.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxicodendron_radicans

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rhus+toxicodendron

Categories
Diagnonistic Test

Skin Biopsy

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Definition:
A biopsy of a lesion of the skin, such as in mole removal or tumor removal, can help your doctor tell the difference between a skin cancer and a benign, or noncancerous, lesion. The skin sample obtained during a biopsy is sent to a laboratory for examination under a microscope.

For this test, abnormal areas of skin are removed to test for cancer or other skin diseases.

Doctors take biopsies of areas that look abnormal and use them to detect cancer, precancerous cells, infections, and other conditions. For some biopsies, the doctor inserts a needle into the skin and draws out a sample; in other cases, tissue is removed during a surgical procedure.

Your doctor may want to obtain a sample of skin in order to diagnose diseases of the skin, such as those caused by bacteria, fungi, or other chronic skin conditions. This procedure is called a skin biopsy.

.Skin Problem Slideshow->..
How the procedure is performed?
*In an excision biopsy, the entire area of suspect skin is cut out. Excision biopsy is normally done with a scalpel. Stitches are used to close the incision.

*In a punch biopsy, a sharp cookie cutter -like instrument is used to remove a small cylinder of skin. Sometimes stitches are necessary to close this type of biopsy wound.

*The outermost part of a lesion can also be shaved off with a scalpel. This is called a shave biopsy.

If you have a lesion on your skin that is fluid-filled and not solid, this can be evaluated with aspiration. Your doctor can put a small needle attached to a syringe into this lesion and suction out the fluid.

How do you prepare for the test?

*Skin biopsy is routinely done in the doctor’s office. You may be asked to change into a gown or remove an article of clothing so that the area of suspect skin can be more easily seen and removed.

*Tell your doctor if you have any allergies to medications, and especially if you have had any reactions to local anesthetics, such as lidocaine or Novocain, or to iodine cleaning solutions, such as Betadine.

*Inform your doctor if you are taking any medications, including over-the-counter drugs, street drugs, or herbal or nutritional supplements.

*Tell your doctor if you have any bleeding problems or if you are pregnant.

What risks are there from the test?
You should discuss with your doctor the following potential risks and complications of the biopsy procedure. You will need to sign a consent form before the procedure.

Possible risks include these:
*Bleeding from the biopsy site
*Pain
*Local reaction to the anesthetic
*If you had an excisional biopsy, you’ll have a scar shaped like a straight line.(Scars are rare following a punch biopsy.)
*Following any kind of incision into the skin, some people develop keloids-reddish lumps on the healing skin.
*Infection

Healing problems – If you tend to form large scars (keloids), you have an increased chance of forming a scar over the biopsy site. Smoking and some chronic medical conditions such as diabetes affect the healing ability of the skin.
What happens when the test is performed?
This procedure is done in a doctor’s office, often by a dermatologist. The doctor begins by injecting a local anesthetic near the biopsy site. Although the injection usually stings for a second, the rest of the procedure is painless. Depending on the size of the lesion, one of two methods will be used to remove or sample it.

For small lesions and tissue samples, your doctor might do a punch biopsy, in which he or she places an instrument shaped like a straw with a sharp end against your skin and twists it. The sharp end works like a cookie cutter to slice a small circle from the top layer of skin. The doctor lifts the tissue away with tweezers. A single stitch closes the opening in the skin.

Larger lesions and tissue samples are removed with an excisional biopsy. In this case, the doctor uses a blade to cut an oval opening around the area. The doctor will stop any bleeding with a cauterizer, a wand-shaped instrument that uses an electric current to seal the ends of bleeding blood vessels. You’ll also need stitches to close the incision.
The tissue that is removed is sent to the laboratory for analysis by a pathologist.

With both types of biopsies, the skin sample is then given to a pathologist and examined under a high-powered microscope.You’ll probably be able to go home right afterward.

For skin biopsies that are being tested for melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, your doctor will try to remove the entire area that looks abnormal. That way, the biopsy will not only determine if the lesion is malignant, it might also cure the cancer. The sample will be examined under a microscope to make sure the whole cancer has been removed. You might need additional skin surgery if the examination shows that the cancer extended to the margins of the skin sample.

After the Procedure:
*To Keep the healing wound clean and dry.Your doctor will put a bandage over your biopsy site. Keep this bandage dry. You may be advised to wash the wound, apply antibacterial ointment, and change the bandage daily.

*If you have stitches, you need to keep the area clean and dry. Follow instructions regarding when and how to wash the wound.
Stitches on the face are removed in 5-8 days. Stitches placed elsewhere on the body are removed in 10-14 days. Adhesive strips are left in place for 10-21 days.

*If you have pain at the biopsy site, talk with your doctor about medication to relieve it. In most cases, discomfort is minimal and requires nothing more than an over-the-counter pain medication.

Next Steps:
Your doctor needs to see you again to remove the stitches and to give you the results of the pathology report.

When to Seek Medical Care:
Call your doctor if you have worsening pain, spreading redness around the site, bleeding from the wound, fever (temperature greater than 100.4°F), or other concerns.

Go to a hospital’s emergency department if you have bleeding from the site that will not stop with gentle pressure, if you have a thick discharge (pus) from the wound, or if you have a high fever.

How long is it before the result of the test is known?
It can take several days to get your results.

Resources:
https://www.health.harvard.edu/diagnostic-tests/skin-biopsy.htm
http://www.emedicinehealth.com/skin_biopsy/article_em.htm

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Categories
Ailmemts & Remedies

Skin Cancer

basal cell carcinoma removal scar
Image by safoocat via Flickr

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Definition:
Skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. If left unchecked, these cancer cells can spread from the skin into other tissues and organs.It is a malignant growth on the skin which can have many causes. Skin cancer generally develops in the epidermis (the outermost layer of skin), so a tumor is usually clearly visible. This makes most skin cancers detectable in the early stages. There are three common types of skin cancer, each of which is named after the type of skin cell from which it arises. Cancers caused by UV exposure may be prevented by avoiding exposure to sunlight or other UV sources, and wearing sun-protective clothes. The use of sunscreen is recommended by medical organizations as a measure that helps to protect against skin cancer (see sunscreen).

Unlike many other cancers, including those originating in the lung, pancreas, and stomach, only a small minority of those afflicted will actually die of the disease.[citation needed] Skin cancers are the fastest growing type of cancer in the United States. Skin cancer represents the most commonly diagnosed malignancy, surpassing lung, breast, colorectal and prostate cancer. Melanoma is the least common skin cancer but it is potentially the most serious: there are over 8,000 new cases each year in the UK and 1,800 deaths. More people now die of Melanoma in the UK than in Australia. It is the second most common cancer in the young population (20 – 39 age group). It is estimated that approximately 85% of cases are caused by too much sun. Non-melanoma skin cancers are the commonest skin cancers. The majority of these are called Basal Cell Carcinomas. These are usually localised growths caused by excessive cumulative exposure to the sun and do not tend to spread.

.CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Types:-
There are different types of skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common. Melanoma is less common, but more dangerous.

More rare types of skin cancer include:
*Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans
*Merkel cell carcinoma
*Kaposi’s sarcoma

The BCC and the SCC often carry a UV-signature mutation indicating that these cancers are caused by UV-B radiation via the direct DNA damage. However the malignant melanoma is predominantly caused by UV-A radiation via the indirect DNA damage.[citation needed] The indirect DNA damage is caused by free radicals and reactive oxygen species. It has been shown, that the absorption of three sunscreen ingredients into the skin, combined with a 60-minute exposure to UV, leads to an increase of free radicals in the skin.

Skin cancer as a group:-
Many laymen and even professionals consider the basal cell carcinoma (BCC), the squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and the malignant melanoma as one group – namely skin cancer. This grouping is problematic for two reasons:

*the mechanism that generates the first two forms is different from the mechanism that generates the melanoma. The direct DNA damage is responsible for BCC and SCC while the indirect DNA damage causes melanoma.

*the mortality rate of BCC and SCC is around 0.3 causing 2000 deaths per year in the US. In comparison the mortality rate of melanoma is 15-20% and it causes 138001 deaths per year.

Even though it is rare, malignant melanoma is responsible for 75 % of all skin cancer related death cases.

While sunscreen has been shown to protect against BCC and SCC it may not protect against malignant melanoma. When sunscreen penetrates into the skin it generates reactive chemicals. It has been found that sunscreen use is correlated with malignant melanoma. The lab-experiments and the epidemiological studies indicate that sunscreen use causes melanoma.

Causes:
The outer layer of skin, the epidermis, is made up of different types of cells. Skin cancers are classified by the types of epidermal cells involved:

Basal cell carcinoma develops from abnormal growth of the cells in the lowest layer of the epidermis and is the most common type of skin cancer.
Squamous cell carcinoma involves changes in the squamous cells, found in the middle layer of the epidermis.
Melanoma occurs in the melanocytes (cells that produce pigment) and is less common than squamous or basal cell carcinoma, but more dangerous. It is the leading cause of death from skin disease.
Skin cancers are sometimes classified as either melanoma or nonmelanoma. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the most common nonmelanoma skin cancers. Other nonmelanoma skin cancers are Kaposi’s sarcoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, and cutaneous lymphoma.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the Unites States. Known risk factors for skin cancer include the following:

*Complexion: Skin cancers are more common in people with light-colored skin, hair, and eyes.
*Genetics: Having a family history of melanoma increases the risk of developing this cancer.
*Age: Nonmelanoma skin cancers are more common after age 40.
*Sun exposure and sunburn: Most skin cancers occur on areas of the skin that are regularly exposed to sunlight or other

*ultraviolet radiation. This is considered the primary cause of all skin cancers.

Skin cancer can develop in anyone, not only people with these risk factors. Young, healthy people — even those with with dark skin, hair, and eyes — can develop skin cancer.

Symptoms:
Skin cancers may have many different appearances. They can be small, shiny, waxy, scaly and rough, firm and red, crusty or bleeding, or have other features. Therefore, anything suspicious should be looked at by a physician. See the articles on specific skin cancers for more information.

Here are some features to look for:

*Asymmetry: one half of the abnormal skin area is different than the other half
*Borders: irregular borders
*Color: varies from one area to another with shades of tan, brown, or black (sometimes white, red, blue)
*Diameter: usually (but not always) larger than 6 mm in size (diameter of a pencil eraser)

Any skin growth that bleeds or will not heal
Use a mirror or have someone help you look on your back, shoulders, and other hard-to-see areas.

Risk factors:-
Skin cancer is most closely associated with chronic inflammation of the skin. This includes:

1.Overexposure to UV-radiation can cause skin cancer either via the direct DNA damage or via the indirect DNA damage mechanism. UVA & UVB have both been implicated in causing DNA damage resulting in cancer. Sun exposure between 10AM and 4PM is most intense and therefore most harmful. Natural (sun) & artificial UV exposure (tanning salons) are associated with skin cancer.[citation needed] Since sunbeds cause mostly indirect DNA damage (free radicals) their use is associated with the deadliest form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma.

2.UVA rays affect the skin at a deeper level than UVB rays, reaching through the epidermis and the dermis to the hypodermis where connective tissues and blood vessels are located. UVA activates the melanin of the epidermis causing changes in pigmentation as well as loss of elasticity of the skin, which contributes to premature wrinkling, sagging and aging of the skin.

3.UVB rays primarily affect the epidermis causing sunburns, redness, and blistering of the skin. The melanin of the epidermis is activated with UVB just as with UVA; however, the effects are longer lasting with pigmentation continuing over 24 hours.
Chronic non-healing wounds, especially burns. These are called Marjolin’s ulcers based on their appearance, and can develop into squamous cell carcinoma.

4.Genetic predisposition, including “Congenital Melanocytic Nevi Syndrome”. CMNS is characterized by the presence of “nevi” or moles of varying size that either appear at or within 6 months of birth. Nevi larger than 20 mm (3/4″) in size are at higher risk for becoming cancerous.

5.Skin cancer is one of the potential dangers of ultraviolet germicidal irradiation.
Skin can be protected by avoiding sunlight entirely, or wearing protective clothing while outdoors. Skin cancer is usually caused by exposing skin to UV rays excessively.

Treatment:-
Most skin cancers can be treated by removal of the lesion, making sure that the edges (margins) are free of the tumor cells. These excisions provide the best cure for both early and high-risk disease.

For low-risk disease, radiation therapy and cryotherapy (freezing the cancer off) can provide adequate control of the disease; both, however, have lower overall cure rates than surgery.

Mohs’ micrographic surgery is a technique used to remove the cancer with the least amount of surrounding tissue and the edges are checked immediately to see if tumor is found. This provides the opportunity to remove the least amount of tissue and provide the best cosmetically favorable results. This is especially important for areas where excess skin is limited, such as the face. Cure rates are equivalent to wide excision. Special training is required to perform this technique.

In the case of disease that has spread (metastasized), further surgical procedures or chemotherapy may be required.

Scientists have recently been conducting experiments on what they have termed “immune- priming”. This therapy is still in its infancy but has been shown to effectively attack foreign threats like viruses and also latch onto and attack skin cancers. More recently researchers have focused their efforts on strengthening the body’s own naturally produced “helper T cells” that identify and lock onto cancer cells and help guide the killer cells to the cancer. Researchers infused patients with roughly 5 billion of the helper T cells without any harsh drugs or chemotherapy. This type of treatment if shown to be effective has no side effects and could change the way cancer patients are treated.

You may click to see Best herbs for skin.

Prognosis:-
The outlook depends on a number of factors, including the type of cancer and how quickly it was diagnosed. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma rarely spread to other parts of the body. However, melanoma is more likely to spread. See the specific skin cancer articles for additional information.

Prevention :-
Minimizing sun exposure is the best way to prevent skin damage, including many types of skin cancer:

*Protect your skin from the sun when you can — wear protective clothing such as hats, long-sleeved shirts, long skirts, or pants.
*Try to avoid exposure during midday, when the sun is most intense.
*Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Apply sunscreen at least one-half hour before sun exposure, and reapply frequently.
*Apply sunscreen during winter months as well.
*Reapply sun block every 2 hours and after swimming

Although it is generally accepted that UV exposure is the greatest risk factor in melanoma development, some sceptics say that there is no proven data that links moderate sun exposure with the appearance of melanoma.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001442.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skin_cancer

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Categories
Health Problems & Solutions

Some Health Questions And Answers

Q: I like to study and do my homework while watching television or listening to music. But my mother disapproves of this and turns off the music or the TV. What is wrong with studying like that?
Rapidly moving television images exhaust brain chemicals needed for transmitting electrical signals

A: The proof of the pudding is in the eating. If you are doing well in your studies, your mother has no reason to complain. But if you are not, it probably means that the TV serials and the music are posing a distraction. In that case, your mother is right. Brain cells function by transmitting electrical signals that require biochemical reactions. Rapidly moving images like those on the TV screen saturate and exhaust these chemicals. The brain then needs time to recover. By the time you start to assimilate the knowledge in your textbooks, the chemicals may be temporarily depleted, leading to poor recall. Also, memory is better when reinforced by vision and sound. In this scenario, recalling what you have learnt from the book may be more difficult than remembering the nuances of the last soap watched.

White patch

Q: I have a white patch on my eyelid which I think is growing. It has been there for as long as I can remember. I am scared that it is leukoderma. There are no patches anywhere else. Please advise.

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A: A single white patch that has been there for a long time may be a birthmark. This grows larger as you grow bigger and older. If you ask your parents, or look at your childhood photos, you can ascertain if the patch was present at or soon after birth. A scar from an old burn or injury can also become hypopigmented and appear white. Leukoderma usually appears after the age of 10 years. The patches are multiple. A dermatologist will be able to make an accurate diagnosis. All these conditions are treatable so you need not worry.

A scoundrel

Q: My son lived at home until he went to college. We were strict parents and he got into engineering college on merit. We had to put him in a hostel as the college is an overnight train journey from our house. We, however, feel that he is running wild there and rapidly turning into a wastrel and scoundrel.

A: These are strong words to describe a boy who seems to have worked hard in school! Perhaps you could check his academic performance. The semester marks must be available by now. If his performance is as consistent as it was when he was in school  and living at home  then he may be just testing the waters. He is becoming an independent, mature young adult. If he is using drugs or misusing alcohol, rest assured there will be absenteeism, arrears and falling grades. These, and unprotected intercourse (unsafe sex), are the real hazards of college life.

Living in a hostel

Q: A girl in my daughter’s hostel developed brain fever and died. We are now worried.

A: Living in a hostel often exposes children to multiple disease-causing organisms, thanks to the close proximity to one another. Some of these are dangerous while others are harmless. “Brain fever” is a non-specific description and could be due to bacteria (meningitis) or viruses (encephalitis.). Vaccines are available only against Japanese B encephalitis, meningococcus, H Influenzae and pneumococcus infections. These should be given to prevent infection. Mundane diseases like jaundice and typhoid are commoner than brain fever. They too affect the health and well being of a child and can be prevented by immunisation. Before sending your child to a hostel, ensure that his or her schedule has been completed.

Itchy facial

Q: I developed black, itchy patches on my face after I went for a gold facial. I look worse than ever now.

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A: Chemicals should be applied to the face with caution. This is a profit-oriented country, where everyone   from the supplier to the manufacturer   tries to cut corners and make a fast buck. The chemicals applied may have been adulterated or (more likely) you may have developed an idiosyncratic allergic reaction. Many allergic patches are photo sensitive, so avoid sunlight. Wash your face with unscented baby soap. Do not apply cosmetics or chemicals. Take a mild antihistamine to reduce the itching. If there is no improvement within a week, consult a dermatologist. You might need an ointment for local application.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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