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La Roche-Posay, Women’s Dermatologic Society promoting sun safety for those with darker skin tones

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — Looking to change sunscreen habits for those with darker skin tones, La Roche-Posay and the Women’s Dermatologic Society have teamed up to take a stand by not just raising awareness, but encouraging true behavioral change through educating on two key motivators: Sunscreen can make your skin more healthy and beautiful and sunscreens don’t have to feel greasy or leave a chalky finish.

Skin cancer might not seem like a significant health threat for those with darker skin tones, but according to recent studies, it should be. In fact, 1-out-of-5 Americans will get skin cancer, and although melanoma incidence is higher in Caucasians, the five-year survival rates for African Americans (78%) are significantly lower than that of Caucasians (92%). This is because of the common misconception that protection from the sun is not necessary for those with darker skin tones. As a result, people of color are more likely to wait until the disease has reached an advanced stage to visit the dermatologist, or worse, don’t visit the dermatologist at all.

The approach came about due to a recent study that showed daily sunscreen use can improve the overall quality of skin for all skin tones. In fact, 90% of Hispanics showed an improvement in the intensity of dark spots, and 64% of those with skin of color showed an improvement in the number of dark spots. As there has been little research on this subject, the study was recently presented at the annual American Academy of Dermatology meeting and recognized as an award-winning study by the Skin of Color Symposium in Denver earlier this year.

Furthermore, compliance tends to be an issue among all sunscreen users. About half (51%) of Americans don’t use sunscreen due to texture.

The La Roche-Posay SOS — Save Our Skin initiative that supports the Women’s Dermatologic Society’s ongoing Play Safe in the Sun campaign — decided to take the program nationwide this year to change the way this demographic thinks about sunscreen use. Throughout 2014, this volunteer program will spread awareness about the benefits of sunscreen at key events across the country targeting the ethnic skin audience at various sporting events, breast cancer walks, urban family festivals, and WDS member-driven grassroots activities where free skin cancer screenings and sunscreen samples will be offered.

"As the new president of the WDS, it’s so important that we are all properly educated about the risks of sun exposure and proper sunscreen use," stated Valerie Callender, WDS president. "This is particularly important since the U.S. population is rapidly changing. By the year 2050, more than half of our country’s population will be comprised of ethnic minorities8. Daily sunscreen use is clinically proven to not only help in the prevention of skin cancer, but also improves the overall health and quality of skin."

 

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Sam’s Club rolls out new ‘Cash Rewards’ program

BY Antoinette Alexander

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Sam’s Club has announced the national rollout of Cash Rewards, a new program that provides $10 in Cash Rewards for every $500 spent on qualifying pre-tax purchases.
 
Beginning June 12, Sam’s Club Plus members will automatically be enrolled to start earning up to $500 in Cash Rewards annually.
 
The rewards, loaded annually onto membership cards, can be used for purchases in-club or on SamsClub.com, applied to annual membership fees, or redeemed for cash at any Sam’s Club register. Sam’s Club Plus members can track their Cash Rewards through their SamsClub.com account, the Sam’s Club mobile app, or at the Member Services Desk.
 
For current Sam’s Club Plus and those that upgrade to it, the benefits include:

  • Early Shopping Hours: Club doors open at 7 a.m. Monday through Saturday, three hours earlier than regular shopping hours;
  • Extra Protection Service Plan: Receive an extra year of coverage with the purchase of a Protection or Care Plan (excludes cameras, computers, smartphones and tablets);
  • Pharmacy Discount: Members can take advantage of 8% savings on name-brand prescriptions and the Extra Value Drug List provides up to 40% savings on many generics when not using prescription drug coverage. In 2012, Plus members using the discount saved on average $16 per prescription versus the regular Sam’s Club retail price; and
  • Optical Discount: Take$40 off a regular-priced pair of prescription eyeglasses when purchasing a one-year supply of contact lenses not using vision plan/insurance benefits.

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Chronic pain sufferers advocate against stigma of prescription pain meds

BY Michael Johnsen

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. — For chronic pain sufferers, there is a real problem with the abuse of painkillers in the United States. While the number of patients who have a legitimate need for prescription painkillers — 100 million plus — is vastly more than the number of people addicted to painkillers — 11 million — there is a stigma attached to the prescribing, dispensing and utilization of pain medicines. And that stigma has created an, at times, insurmountable hurdle that leaves legitimate patients suffering in silence.

“The person seeking relief from pain is not [suffering] from the same disease as a person who is an addict,” said Paul Gileno, president of the U.S. Pain Foundation. “Two separate diseases … [But] it’s hard to decipher because right away [people associate] pain patients with that group of addicts.”
According to a 2011 report from the Institutes of Medicine, more than 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. Of those, 25.8 million suffer chronic pain from diabetes, 23.3 million suffer chronic pain from a cardiovascular event, and 11.9 million suffer chronic pain from cancer.

Conversely, the number of abusers totals 11 million, according to a May 2014 report in JAMA Internal Medicine. Of those, 55.5% are men, 32.1% are between the ages of 18 and 25, and 58.5% make less than $50,000 each year. Only 12% of Americans older than the age of 50 — an age group arguably more closely associated with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer — abuse painkillers for nonmedical purposes.

“Out of those 11 million who are abusing pain medications, we don’t know that they’re coming out of the 100 million Americans [with chronic pain], because we don’t know if they’re legitimate pain patients at the start,” Gileno said. While there is certain to be some overlap, the 11 million may simply represent addicts who have chosen pain medicines as their conduit to get high.

But the media focus has historically been on the addicts and how to curtail their access to the pain medicines they crave. That creates a real stigma that inhibits access for legitimate patients from doctors to pharmacists to the patients themselves.

“Doctors are limiting prescribing because of the stigma,” Gileno said. “[And] pharmacies are either not carrying products or questioning patients on their prescriptions even though they have a legitimate [need].” The stigma associated with pain medicines even extends to patients, with many patients worried that they may become an addict because they’ve been prescribed an opioid to address their chronic pain. “They listen to the media instead of their doctor,” he said, and forego the appropriate care.

According to a recent analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 27% of the highest risk painkiller users get opioids through their own prescriptions. They are about four times more likely than the average user to buy the drugs from a dealer.

Researchers analyzed data for the years 2008 through 2011 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Other major sources of opioids for frequent nonmedical users include obtaining drugs from friends or relatives for free (26%), buying from friends or relatives (23%) or buying from a drug dealer (15%).

In an effort to abate the stigma associated with legitimate use of pain medicines, the U.S. Pain Foundation fields some 200 “Pain Ambassadors” who make up a grassroots education campaign — first, that chronic pain sufferers have both legitimate needs for and significant hurdles in acquiring their pain remedies, and second, that there are market-driven options available, such as abuse-deterrent medicines. “For us, as a patient advocacy group, that’s what we need to do,” Gileno said. “An educated patient is an empowered patient. An empowered patient is a better patient for a doctor because the doctor can actually help them on their journey to get them the answers they need.”
 

 

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