What are the different types of skin cancer?

Of all the cancers, it is the skin cancer which affects most people around the world. In the US alone, over a million people are detected with skin cancer.
As, skin cancer clinic in Melbourne, the human body contains more than 35 trillions of cells. And if any of these few normal functioning cells undergo variations and modifications, and grow uncontrollably, then cancer occurs in a person. The multiplication of cells forms into a mass which in medical term is called a tumor. Not all tumors are cancerous, some are benign too; i.e. they do not cause any damage. But some tumors are malignant and cancerous, which means that they occupy and annex the neighboring tissues, largely lymph nodes, on account of their out of control growth.

These malignant tumors after invading the neighboring tissues survive on them by taking up their oxygen and nutrients. Not just the surrounding tissues, but these malignant tumors also enter the bloodstream and affect remote organs. This process is called metastasis

Skin Cancers are of three types:

a) SCC – Squamous Cell Carcinoma
b) BCC – Basal Cell Carcinoma
c) Melanoma

1) Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Of the three skin cancers, this is the second most common. The chief cause for this is the ultraviolet rays from the sun and artificial tanning by tanning beds. It affects the exposed part of one’s body — such as hands, legs, face, neck, back, chest etc.
This skin cancer if detected early this type of cancer can be treated completely. But if it spreads to other parts, such as bones, lymph nodes or other tissues, then it becomes difficult to cure. Squamous Cell Carcinoma grows has a very slow growth and is generally detected at a much earlier stage.

You have high chances of being affected by SCC if you have a fair skin, you get exposed a lot to sun’s ultraviolet rays, or expose your body to excessive tanning bulbs, or use tanning beds. Also, it affects population which are older, fair skinned, have blue or green eyes, work in places of high radiation — such as nuclear plants, radioactive laboratories, or live in an area where the water has high levels of arsenic.

Squamous cell carcinoma generally looks like a bump or maybe red in color with a scaly blotch of skin. Its texture is rough and blood oozes out when scraped with a fingernail or a pointed surface. If it is enlarged, it causes excessive itching. If you observe any such conditions on your skin, it is time to consult a dermatologist.

The treatment usually involves removing the spot of cancer along with some healthy skin, or by killing the cancer cells on the localized part of the body using a hand tool, or by undergoing a surgery to remove the lymph node, or scrubbing the spot on your body so that new skin layer could emerge.

2) Basal Cell Carcinoma
This is the least risky of all the cancers. The magic words are ‘early detection’ to get completely cured. The best part is that it does not spread to other areas of the skin, but may enter under your skin affecting tissues and bones.
It starts off with a bump that is shiny and small, generally on the face but could affect other areas of your body too — such as legs, arms shoulders etc. Your propensity to develop this type of cancer rises if you have fair skin. BCC grows very slowly and is not detected unless there is a very long and harsh exposure to the sun.
It is caused by overexposure to the sun, experiencing severe sunburns when growing up, using excessive sunscreen lotions and using tanning beds.
Your dermatologist may suggest creams and pills and would have you undergo regular check-ups to monitor progress. Or he might suggest a minor excision surgery or a freeze surgery, wherein the part of the bumpy skin is frozen to kill the cancer cells. This is known as cryosurgery.
The other treatment is using electricity to kill the cancer cells with a spoon like instruments.
Besides this, your doctor may use X-Rays to destroy the cancerous cells. Thus, it is only in consultation with a well-known dermatologist, that you’d know which method of treatment is good for you.

3) Melanoma
This is the most dangerous of all the types of skin cancer and affects more than 10,000 every year in the US alone. It is caused by a damaged DNA affecting the nearby skin because of overexposure to ultraviolet rays and blisters caused by sunburn, If in your childhood you have been affected by sunburns, then you double your chances of contracting melanoma.
The formation of tumors have their genesis in melanocytes, which produces pigment, and is located in the bottom layer of the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin.
A large majority of melanomas are found to be of black and brown in color, however, they can also take up the color of the skin of the person it affects — such as red, pink, purple or white.

There are 4 types of melanoma :
a) Superficial spreading melanoma
b) Lentigo meligna
c) Acral lentiginous melanoma
d) Nodular melanoma

The treatment of melanoma, as with other types of skin cancer can be done using excision surgery or Moh’s Micrographic surgery, in which many layers of the affected part are removed and each is studied under a microscope.

Continue Reading

Best Postnatal Exercise

Starting a post natal physiotherapy exercise would require to begin with something simple and then slowly move to a workout plan that is a bit more difficult. Before you start, ensure that you are mentally ready. Make sure that your schedule is clear so that nothing will prevent you from regularly exercising.

Simple Home Exercises

You can begin with something simple you can do at home. For those living in a house that is two-storey, you can go up and down the stairs for 30 minutes. You can also try walking or jogging within your neighborhood.

Another option is to buy a bicycle and ride it around your vicinity. You could also use it to run errands. Physical activities carried out for at least 30 minutes to an hour will help your body greatly. You would not even need to enroll in a gym class.

Update Home Exercises

When you need to step up your workout routine, you can engage in difficult tasks right in your home e,g20 abdominal crunches daily. You could also purchase a workout routine that is instructional e.g. aerobics and tae-BO activities. This would go a long way in helping you stay physically fit.

Join Sport Activities

New moms can also join online groups and clubs. You can enroll in any of these and go with them when there is a sport activity. This will expand your network as you would meet other people with similar issues. Your family’s support during this process is important, but meeting and interacting with these people can go a long way in helping you deal with the emotions that comes with losing pregnancy weight. There are a lot of postnatal activities that can help you lose excess fats. These include: badminton, bowling or even hiking can do a lot in burning excess fats.

A Comprehensive Workout

You should opt for activities like yoga and Pilates as these activities have the ability to burn fat very fast as well as reduce calories. These activities are also suitable for people that are adventurous.

Engage in a postnatal exercise that is interesting to you. It is really terrible to wake up each morning and then practically force yourself to the gym. The more you enjoy an activity, the more likely you will stick to it.

Clinical Pilates

This is a physical exercise focused on posture, balance, stability, control, stamina, breathing and flexibility. It was developed in the early 20th century in Germany by a man called Joseph Pilates.

Today, ‘clinical Pilates’ is used alongside physiotherapy to treat various injuries, especially injuries that affect the neck and back.

There is in fact profound evidence to prove that therapeutic exercise is effective in managing patients with injuries especially low back pain injuries.

Benefits of Practicing Pilates

There are lots of classes and clubs that you can enroll in to help you get back in shape. Some of these clubs include- martial arts, dance lessons, yoga, Boxercise, etc.

You can choose from any of the above. We can also help you with your choice in case you are concerned about which one suits you.

Let’s take a quick look at the best classes for your Clinical Pilates.

With Pilates, you can do stretches and light exercises that will help in toning down and strengthening the major muscles in your body. This is very important to your entire well being as core muscles help in stabilizing our bodies as we move and work. With these muscles, we can bend and twist at our waist region. These muscles also support and help in strengthening our back.

Practicing Pilates help us to avoid back injuries and recover from back pain if it is in existence. Strengthening your core muscles will also make you look great, have a flatter stomach as well as a more toned legs and buttocks.

In addition, you will burn a lot of calories, which is of course immensely beneficial to your health, happiness, self esteem and success in life.

Pilates allows for gentle stretches which are also very beneficial. A lot of exercises in Pilates have to do with the stretching of the spine. These exercises also cover the gradual opening of the vertebrae and a massage of the affected area.

Pilate exercises are effective in letting out trapped nerves. They also ease discomforts that come from applying pressure on the muscles or other internal organs. These exercises generally help in dealing with pain as there is a release of endorphins that kill pain in the process of exercising.

Stretching is also used in other areas. You will be required to stretch your hamstrings  your arms and other movements. All these movements reduce the likelihood of injury as your joints become more flexible, such that they can bend and stretch when sudden movements are made. It becomes easier to move your joints, especially if you have arthritis. You should, however, seek professional advice before you start any new exercise routine.

Practicing Pilates also help you become very aware of your entire body. There are in fact advanced moves that will require you to perform certain exercises that involve you squeezing some parts of your muscles which never existed. This means that you become aware of these unique parts of your muscles. It also reduces the likelihood of injure as you are able to maintain a good posture and have  more organized movements.

Pilate exercises come in different styles. You should, however consult an expert if your aim is to recover from an injury.


Continue Reading

Why Are Children Placed in Foster Care?

I must apologise, I am not usually one for graphs, in fact the mere sight of them makes me go cross-eyed. I won’t do it again I promise 😉

Before I got into foster care this was one of my burning questions and I have people ask me about the background of the children all the time. For obvious reasons around confidentiality, I can’t get into the reasons why my foster children are living with me but I can talk about these things in general terms.

Abuse takes many forms and many might argue that the monstrosities I often dish up for dinner is child abuse! In fact some of my meals deserve a pie chart all of their own 🙂 On a more serious note though, it is devastating to hear some of the stories of these children placed in care. Stories of physical abuse and children being left alone for days on end without food or knowing when their parents would return and I am talking about children under the age of 3 or 4. It’s hard not to judge the parents sometimes but it’s important not to. They’ve often got themselves tangled up in substance abuse and somewhere along the line their priorities have got all mixed up.

As a carer you also see the effect of emotional abuse on children. They are so damaged and fragile when they first show up to live with you. I had a little girl who, whenever I packed a little treat in her lunch box for school, would bring it back. After weeks of this I asked her why. Her response tore my heart out. She assumed that such special things couldn’t possibly have been intended for her and so dutifully returned them each day.

The great news is that you see almost immediately the difference you are making in these young lives. You have the privilege of watching them blossom before your very eyes. Show me a job in all God’s earth that provides you with that level of gratification. More about this in future posts!

Continue Reading

Being Perfect

I am a perfect mother. I am a perfect foster mum. I am a perfect wife, friend, lover, companion, cook, home maker, specimen of the human race in actual fact.

Hmmm, well maybe not ‘perfect’……. in some areas not even a ‘work in progress’! I am a terrible cook, I do try to create things from scratch but it never ever turns out well for anybody involved. I will spend a good 10 minutes every time I have attempted to cook something, staring at the result bewildered as to why it is barely recognizable next to it’s counterpart in the cookbook. I have had to accept that it’s just not ‘my thing’.  My strengths lie elsewhere is probably a more positive way to look at it.

Can I add to that by saying that the actual me as a Mummy is not what I pictured 10 years ago. No, no…nooooo…..it was going to be just like the Huggies ads. I would take advantages of breastfeeding my healthy (very attractive) newborn while finger painting with the other children while my organic, gluten-free, lactose free, made from scratch (not courtesy of Becky Crocker) scones baked successfully in the oven. I would be so slim that people would often remark at my ability to ‘zip back’ into shape after having children. And don’t tell me that I am the only one who’s motherhood fantasies didn’t quite match up to the reality!?

I am pretty sure that there are millions of us looking a successful female blogger’s posts of their perfect lives, silently weeping while eating a burnt pork chop and our fifth gold fish bowl size glass of cheap Verdhelo.

It may sound strange but in the last couple of months I’ve made peace with myself. I have let myself off the hook. I have stopped scrutinizing and obsessing over all the things I don’t do well and focused on what I am good at. It’s worth working on. As one friend to another, can I suggest that you do the same?

Continue Reading

Behaving Badly

Far be it from me to offer anybody parenting advice. I mean that sincerely, I am certainly no expert but I have learnt so much through my foster care journey and through floundering my way through my son’s Autism diagnosis.

I have been presented with a number of, shall we say, ‘unique’ little behaviours over the last 8 years and if there is one thing I have learned is that there is a reason for all behaviour. We have all, I am sure, had times where we thought our precious little angels were “just trying to push my buttons” but the fact is undesirable behaviour usually stems from a child either a) trying to communicate that they are not coping with a situation or  b) attempting to regain some control that they perceive they have lost.

I would like to share my experience with you of the first one today if I may. I have learned through trial and error that when my son ‘appears’ to be behaving badly by not cooperating, refusing to give me eye contact, running away from me that it can certainly look like open and bare-faced defiance. Poor Ethan has been judged by many people including teachers of being just that; a defiant, naughty little boy. What lies behind his behaviours though is Ethan simply not coping with his current circumstances. This could be anything from a change in his routine sprung on him to a poor social encounter where he ‘perceives’ he has been rejected.  And you know what, I think that is true of all children not just children on the Autism Spectrum.

My number 1 tip, go in to the situation your child is creating with a view to understanding what is really going on for your child. Not only that go in with a goal to also help your child understand what’s going here. Brainstorm with them:

“Oh, so you felt like Oscar was rejecting you when he said he didn’t want to play with you anymore?”

” What do you think you could have done to avoid getting so angry that you punched him?”

Continue Reading

Social Media and Social Networking

Not all social media plafforms are the same. They have different purposes, age limits, security, types of sharing and interacting. They also have different levels of security and in some cases consider any data you upload to be theirs, not yours.

Here are some points to consider before your children start using social media.

Which Social Media Site is Best?

Do some research into the social media sites your children want to join to see if they are appropriate. Find out what it is, what type of information is shared, what is the age range of users on the site? Are there any benefits to joining? If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it and you can always join the site first to see if it is appropriate.

What type of Privacy is there?

Get to know the privacy settings for the site before you decide to join. Some sites have more comprehensive privacy settings than others. The privacy settings should control what you can share but also who can see you and what you can see. If you can’t get this level of privacy then consider not signing up. Read the privacy policy before you sign up.

What is the Age Limit?

Does the site your children want to use have an age limit? Facebook has an age limit of l3yrs and over. If a site has an age limit it would be wise to stick to it, as the information on the site may not be suitable for anyone under the age specified. Consider your child’s maturity. Even if they are the right age, should theyjoin? If the site doesn’t have an age limit, consider the points raised above.

What type of Information is being Shared?

Consider the content that is shared on the site and how easy it is for others to find your information and share it. Some sites are focused on sharing of images, others are text and images, others are music or video, the list goes on. If the content is not appropriate or sharing is all too easy and you can’t restrict it, do not sign up.

Protecting Your Children

It is important forchildren to understand how vital it is that they do not share any of their private information with people they do not know. There are no guarantees the person behind the online username is who they say they are. Be SMART.

Safe- don’t share personal information

Meeting – never meet someone you don’t know

Accepting – do not accept emails or contact from unknown sources Reliable-someone online may be lying about who they are.

Tell- always tell an adult or parent if you feel unsafe or worried.

Continue Reading