Health Buzz: Melanoma Rates Jumping Among Young Adults

Health Buzz: Melanoma Rates Jumping Among Young Adults

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Rising Skin Cancer Rates Hit Young Women Hardest

Melanoma rates are jumping among young adults, particularly women—likely due to repeated tanning bed use. That's according to a new study by Mayo Clinic researchers, who found that the incidence of melanoma increased eightfold among young women and fourfold among young men between 1970 and 2009. Melanoma, the most deadly kind of skin cancer, is caused by exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun and tanning beds. Women under 40 are hit hardest by the increasing rates, according to findings published today in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. "Tanning beds can give you seven times the dose of UV radiation as the sun, but young adults are still going," report co-author Jerry Brewer, a dermatologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., told Time. "It's like trying to ban cigarettes, it's very hard. Should we be limiting tanning beds? Absolutely. Is it easy? Absolutely not."

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  • Acid Reflux Relief—Without a Pill

    Feeling the burn? That painful sensation in your chest or throat—acid reflux, or what doctors call GERD—isn't intractable. Lifestyle and dietary tweaks can bring relief, experts say. "Simple [changes] can make a big difference," says gastroenterologist Jorge Rodriguez, author of the new book The Acid Reflux Solution (Ten Speed Press, $21.99). That's promising, since researchers warn that heartburn drugs may do more harm than good, increasing the risk of infection with an intestinal bacteria or even the likelihood of contracting pneumonia.

    Here are nine easy ways to alleviate heartburn without swallowing a pill:

    1. Raise the head of your bed. Most acid reflux occurs during sleep. To prevent nighttime attacks, "you need to position your head at an angle," so it's higher than your abdomen, says Rodriguez. Elevate the head of your bed a minimum of 30 degrees, perhaps with a firm foam-rubber wedge, or by putting bricks under your bedposts. "The worst thing you can do is lie flat down, especially right after eating." Give yourself at least 30 minutes to digest a meal before hitting the sack.

    2. Sleep on your left side. Research from the Stanford School of Medicine suggests that snoozing on your right side worsens reflux. So does stomach sleeping.

    3. Chew your food well. Forget wolfing down your meals. Digestion begins in the mouth, and if you don't chew your food well, you're asking for trouble. Chew each bite for 20 seconds. [Read more: Acid Reflux Relief—Without a Pill.]

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    • Is There an Acid Reflux Diet?

      Gurgle, burp, ouch—millions of Americans know too well the painful symptoms of acid reflux. The digestive disorder, marked by a hot, burning feeling that rises up from the stomach, is also called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Not only is it uncomfortable, but it can harm the esophagus over time, too, sometimes even triggering esophageal cancer.

      Acid reflux arises when the lower esophageal sphincter, the circular muscle that acts as a gate between the esophagus and stomach, loosens too easily or does not maintain its tone. That allows caustic gastric acid to backwash into the esophagus, causing difficulty swallowing, wheezing, shortness of breath, persistent dry cough, hoarseness, and the feeling that you have a lump in your throat. But contrary to conventional wisdom, heartburn sufferers aren't destined for a life of bland eating, says Rodriguez. "I'm a Cuban-American, and I always thought heartburn was just something you lived with, especially since I ate a lot of spicy Cuban food. But that doesn't have to be the case." His new book, The Acid Reflux Solution, outlines a cooking and lifestyle plan to manage and cure heartburn symptoms. He recommends snacks and meals to dig into, and warns against those that will cause flare-ups. What's on the menu may surprise you. [Read more: Is There an Acid Reflux Diet?]

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