Thursday, July 23, 2015

"Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress; working together is success."  by Henry Ford. 

This quote couldn't be more appropriate as I think about how  Rochester Melanoma Action Group began.  It started with a family who lost a loved one to Melanoma.   The support grew by surviors, friends and family, and professionals.   We've all been affected by Melanoma and we want to make a difference by raising awareness, educating and  raising money for Melanoma  research.

Our BIG event that brings us  together is called  Outrun the Sun's  Race Against Melanoma.  We have had success and have donated $85,000 for Melanoma research in the last three years from this event.   This year it is being held on August 7th at Webster Park. The evening festival is for the entire family starting at 5:30pm. The event will have activites for children as well as adults.  The 5k race starts at 7pm.

This event is possible through many people's time, talents and treasures.  This is the fourth year of the event and we could always use help.  Please sign up online or call me at 585-451-6214. 

Let's keep working together!



Sunday, May 17, 2015

12th Annual Focus on Melanoma Conference at UPenn

I traveled to Philadelphia to attend the  Focus on Melanoma Conference put on by Penn Medicine, Abramson Cancer Center. It was my first experience doing such a thing and it was well worth it!  A panel of Doctors spoke on Melanoma research , the latest advances in Melanoma therapy and treatment plans.  In addition, they shared facts and myths regarding ultraviolet light and sun protection and sun cancer prevention.

Here are some new and developing Research and Treatments:

Precision Medicine:  working on individualized treatment for a patient based on personal characteristics in DNA. Personalized diagnostic testing helps researchers to treat your cancer at a genetic level.

Immunotherapy is a treatment that stimulates your immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells. Ones own immune system helps fight off cancer cells.

Target Therapy is used with medicines designed with the goal of destroying cancer cells without damaging normal cells.

Integrative Oncology is a non traditional approach to  medicine.  Combine non-traditional and traditional therapy to treat cancer.  Looking at the Body/Mind connection and how our thoughts affect our body.  (Acupuncture, Yoga, Meditation, Reiki, Weight lifting)

Nine(9) drugs in the last five(5) years have been approved for melanoma treatment through clinical trials at U Penn.

Here are the Facts:

74,000 people are estimated to be diagnosed with Melanoma in 2015.
88% of people find skin cancer on their own or by a partner.  Do monthly skin checks!
26% of Melanoma develop from existing moles that change.  Do monthly skin checks!
Women tend to develop melanoma on lower legs, feet, hands and on the right side of their face and neck due to being a passenger in a car.
Men tend to develop melanoma on the trunk of their bodies and the left side of their face and neck  due to driving in a car.
Not all Melanoma is caused by the Sun. Currently a  15 month old is being treated at UPenn.  (Melanoma can develop in eyes, digestive tract, genitals, under the nails, or even in the mouth) Do monthly skin checks!
UVA causes skin aging.   UVB contributes to cancer.  Strongest UVB 10-2pm
Tanning beds are classified in the same cancer risk category as tobacco, arsenic and asbestos.
Using a tanning bed before the age of 30 increases your risk by 75%.
Wear sunscreen...broad spectrum...find the one you like and apply generously.  Most people apply less then recommended and are not fully protected.

Bottom line....Protect yourself from the fastest growing cancer...Be Sun Smart, protect your skin.

I walked away from the conference with hope and with more passion to educate others.  Let's do this!

Life is Good!   Mary

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Tanning Booths, Getting Burned!

     "Tanning beds give you a 'base tan' to keep you from burning."  How many times have you heard this?  Just last week, I met a very tan young woman in a store picking out sunscreen.  I couldn't help myself from asking her what kind of sunscreen she was purchasing and why; she was already so tan? She stated she was traveling to Brazil and got her base tan at a tanning salon.  I took the opportunity to share my story.  NO TAN IS A SAFE TAN! 
      State Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, attention is on the tanning salons that are downplaying the risks of indoor tanning and claiming benefits.  As stated in the Rochester D and C (4/24/15) He alleges they are both violating state law by advertising false testimonials and claims.  They are stating benefits of Vitamin D from tanning and include a testimonial from a kidney cancer survivor who claimed it helped him recover. "Make no mistake about it, states Schneiderman, There is nothing safe about indoor tanning."
      Total Tan's owner is firing back. He feels The State Attorney is trying to intimidate the stores and is imposing  his own view of the world on the industry.
       More lawsuits are likely in the future due to the practices of unlimited indoor tanning without properly disclosing the risks  and the lack of training staff. Planet Fitness is working with the office of the Attorney General to follow state laws and business practices.
     When all is said and done, the facts are the facts.
Here's why you must kiss the  tanning bed good-bye:
  1. Your risk of melanoma increases by 75 percent when you use tanning beds before the age of 35.
  2. Last year, the International Agency for Research on Cancer shifted indoor tanning devices to the highest cancer risk category: "carcinogenic to humans." (They were formerly classified as "probably carcinogenic to humans.")
  3. Tanning can be addictive. For some people, UV radiation can have a druglike effect; they feel dependent on it and can experience withdrawal symptoms, says David Fisher, M.D., Ph.D.
  4. Not only are tanning-bed users more vulnerable to melanoma, they're also 2½ times more likely to be diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma and 1½ times more susceptible to basal cell carcinoma.
  5. Starting this July, you're going to pay a 10-percent tax every time you slip into the tanning booth.

Protect yourself from burns with sunscreen and protective base tan needed!


Monday, March 16, 2015

Rochester Melanoma Action Group: Rochester Melanoma Action Group, a 501c3 organizat...

Rochester Melanoma Action Group: Rochester Melanoma Action Group, a 501c3 organizat...: Rochester Melanoma Action Group, a 501c3 organization, was formed in 2011 to increase awareness and raise funds for the fight against melan...

Stop hiding from the sun!  For those of us who have been diagnosed with Melanoma know all to well that fun in the sun comes with a price.  I've learned to enjoy the outdoors again with the help of clothing with UPF 50 sun block and sunscreens that are more user friendly. 

Last year, the Surgeon General declared skin cancer a public-health crisis.  There are now 63,000 new cases each year of melanoma, the deadliest form. While at my dermatologists for my three month check up, I read an encouraging article stating that Congress recently passed the Sunscreen Innovations Act.  It provides timelines for the US Food and Drug Assoc.  to review new sunscreen ingredients.  These ingredients have been available in Europe for decades and significantly have more sun shielding power.

You can imagine reading this gave me HOPE.  As it stands now, the sunscreens in the US only have three protective ingredients for use. The new ingredients have been in consideration since the 1990s!!!! There are eight (8) new ingredients being tested.

Sunday's Wall Street Journal headlines state" Washington's Skin Cancer Hostages."

Sunscreen's active ingredients are regulated by the FDA like new medicines.The FDA are demanding more studies and safety data from manufacturers, despite the use of these drugs world-wide for decades.

Consider this:  skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. As skin cancer is rising, most other cancer rates are falling.  Skin cancer is preventable.  New sunscreens would help in prevention of skin cancer. Why is the FDA so sluggish when it listed actions related to sunscreen as a high priority in the Unified Agenda since 2008

Just saying!!

Mary Costello

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Rochester Melanoma Action Group, a 501c3 organization, was formed in 2011 to increase awareness and raise funds for the fight against melanoma.

We have all been affected by this terrible disease - some of us lost a beloved family member or friend, others are survivors themselves and some fight it on the professional front. We've all decided to make a difference.

In 2013 we were able to make a $25,000 donation to the University of Rochester’s efforts in melanoma research. This was only possible through the generous donations of the time, talent and treasure of our wonderful volunteers, sponsors, donors and participants. In February 2014 we were proud to make another $25,000 donation to URMC's melanoma research program.

We are a licensee of Outrun The Sun's Race Against Melanoma, a leader in this fight. You can learn more about Outrun The Sun at

Please consider joining us! We need sponsors, volunteers and participants.

Thank you- and don't forget the sunscreen!

Anne Marie Bell
Linda Bell
Tom Bell Jr.
Anne Bishop
Mary Costello
Terry Bell Dearcop
Carolyn Bell Gerstner
Maureen Bell Hyde
Dr. Lesley Loss
Brenda Bell Mejia
Christine Millet
Terry Skelly
Maureen Williams