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Shanna is an education intern at the Cancer Support Community and a rising junior at The George Washington University, where she is studying international affairs and political science and has a strong interest in public health.

August is Health Literacy Month

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

When diagnosed with cancer, you hear many different medical terms. At first these terms seem like alphabet soup or a long-ago algebra problem. Navigating the world of cancer care and its terminology is a daunting task for anyone.

Heath literacy is defined as obtaining, communicating, processing and understanding health information and services to make appropriate health decisions. A person who has trouble finding and utilizing the correct health information that they need has limited health literacy. This is a crucial skill for people to have in order to understand and cope with a cancer diagnosis and their treatment options.

Tan Expectations

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Today the threat of skin cancer does not usually cross young peoples’ minds when they grab their towels and skip the sunscreen to lie out in the sun to get bronze skin. It is normal and very common to bring up in conversation one’s tan, and it is a compliment to hear, “Wow, you look so dark!” As a college student, I know that a nice tan is an expectation of young people during the summer months.

The media and pop culture often glamorize tan skin, encouraging young people to attain a luminous glow. However, skin cancer is a very real danger to my generation. The most aggressive form of skin cancer is melanoma. It develops when skin cells are damaged and mutate, which causes rapid skin cell growth. It is usually pigmented (typically brown or black) and can be seen on the skin. It is estimated that in 2013, 76,690 new cases of invasive melanoma will be diagnosed. Melanoma is also the most common form of cancer in young adults ages 25-29.