By Dr. Sandra Read, dermatologist - 05/11/09 05:55 PM EDT
As a board-certified dermatologist practicing in downtown Washington for over 20 years, I see the deadly effects of skin cancer daily. Skin cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer with more than 1.2 million cases diagnosed annually. Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, claims over 8,000 lives each year. Accumulating evidence indicates that radiation across the entire ultraviolet spectrum (UVA and UVB) contributes to skin cancer. Sadly, the United States lacks standards to evaluate the amount of protection most sunscreens currently have against UVA rays.
I am optimistic that the recent confirmation of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to her post as Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary will bring new life to this outstanding healthcare issue. In her role as governor, Sebelius worked to ensure that the citizens of Kansas had access to quality and affordable healthcare. It is my hope that that in her new position, the secretary will pressure the FDA to ensure access to quality sunscreen ingredients available in every major sunscreen market outside of the U.S., including countries in Europe, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan and Mexico.
Our new HHS secretary must push the FDA to implement sunscreen standards that clearly outline the amount of protection that sunscreen products offer against cancer-causing rays on the entire UVA and UVB spectrum. Currently in the FDA’s approval queue are photostable, UV filters that provide broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. Expediting the now-stagnant review of these sunscreen active ingredients would finally give Americans the protection they deserve.
I urge Secretary Sebelius to work closely with champions on Capitol Hill like Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) who understand the significant impact that improved sunscreen standards and ingredients would have on reforming the healthcare system. Congress must continue to press upon the FDA that this is a serious component of healthcare reform that requires immediate action. Many in the dermatology community will be keeping close watch on both HHS and the FDA to not let another summer pass without access to this state of the art sun protection technology.
Make D.C. house the nation’s illegals
From Alber Sterlini
Regarding the article “Obama budget nixes aid for jailing illegal immigrants” (May 8), perhaps a better solution would be taxpayer contributions for one-way bus tickets to Washington, D.C., for illegals that a state cannot house. Then the White House and Congress can switch their focus from waterboarding to boarding illegals in D.C.