Written by Tony Payne
Skin cancer has been called a lifestyle disease attributable to excessive exposure to ultra violet (UV) rays (e.g. sun burns, deep tans, tanning beds, etc.). Think about that, then consider that Maine and New Hampshire have among the highest rates of skin cancer in the United States. So, what should you know about detection, treatment and prevention of skin cancers?
Also, your medical history can impact the cost or availability of life and disability insurance. These insurance products are closely underwritten with cancer being a flag for insurers.
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcionoma (SCC) are the most common skin cancers caused by extensive or severe exposure to ultra violet rays. Though not normally life threatening, they grow and can disfigure your face or neck where most skin cancers occur.
Let's start with lifetime prevention. Don't let yourself or your children get burned. Sunburns are the playground of skin cancer. We need to cover up when we're outdoors, no matter the season of the year. Even though everyone loves to be told they look as delicious as a lightly toasted marshmallow, the fact is we are setting ourselves up for being carved up sooner or later in life — and it's no fun! Is having a divot on your nose really worth the adulation of being considered a bronzed god or goddess? Or for us bald guys, do we want a head that looks like a dimpled golf ball?
Frequently applied sun block (30 SPF or higher for extended exposure) to all exposed skin is a good start. Give particular attention to noses, ears and necks — areas that tend to stick out from beneath hats and scarves year round. Educate your kids that this is standard operating procedure when being outdoors.
Adding sun tanning oil without broad spectrum sun block is very much like adding oil to your frying pan — it simply helps crisp the meat as opposed to protecting it. And, of course, staying in the shade can help limit your exposure, altogether.
The president of the Skin Cancer Foundation gives no quarter at all to sun exposure. He recently wrote:
"Skin cancers of the eyelids account for 5-10 percent of all skin cancers, so sunglasses are essential."
He also suggests "...a significant percentage of all cancers are on the lips, so use a lip balm with a comparable SPF."
Now for the much more rare skin cancer. The term melanoma is not what you want to hear from your doctor as it is the most dangerous of the skin cancers and requires aggressive treatment. Read two stories of young women in Maine and New Hampshire who have thus far survived their melanoma diagnoses.
This form of skin cancer kills nearly 9,000 Americans annually. Melanoma, mutated skin cells that rapidly multiply, can spread (metastasize) to other areas and organs of the body which makes it so dangerous. The American Cancer Society estimates that 120,000 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed annually in the US. About 55 percent are invasive with about 57 percent of those occurring in men.
Recognizing warning signs early almost always can lead to complete cures according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
With melanoma, the foundation suggests the ABCDE review of your body.
Asymmetry of moles no matter what color they may be.
Borders of a mole that are uneven, scalloped or notched.
Colors of various shades; red, blue, tan, brown and black.
Diameter greater than a quarter inch.
Evolving in shape, color, elevation or bleeding, itching or crusting.
BCC and SCC may be detected when you notice areas of skin that don't heal or are patches of crusty pink or red growths.
As for treatment for basal cell and squamous cell cancers, a surgical approach developed by Dr. Frederick Mohs is proving to be the single most effective technique. When surgically removing cancer of any kind, the trick is to cut out the cancer and just enough surrounding healthy tissue to prevent continued spread of cancerous cells. With what is now known as Mohs surgery, a pathologist examines the excised (removed) tissue during surgery rather than guessing how deep or wide the spread may be. By removing ever-deeper and wider tissue samples, the surgeon can know when cancer-free skin has been reached. At that point, they can close the incision with confidence that the cancer likely has been removed.
We all can enjoy the outdoors our entire lives without jeopardizing our health, comfort or amazing good looks! So, lather up with sun block, dress appropriately and safely enjoy the outdoors.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 02:36
Written by Trevor Jones
The iTunes library is an example of large files that your business probably should not be paying to back up.
These days, business IT budgets are more squeezed than ever, and being efficient is vital. One area you can save money without sacrificing the security of the business is by properly managing your backup storage so that you aren't wasting resources protecting files that don't have business value.
A good online backup solution will allow you to define your backup sets at the individual PC level so you have the ability to specify what does and does not get backed up. This means you don't have to have a one-size-fits-all policy for utilizing your backup storage. Instead, you can craft your own list of files your business should back up and exclude the ones you shouldn't. The below list covers some key items you probably want to avoid backing up for most users, but with the right solution, you have the ability to make exceptions where appropriate.
Software. Software takes a tremendous amount of space and can usually be re-downloaded from the manufacturer in the event of a system failure. This process is usually more cost effective than backing up your complete installation, especially if you won't be restoring your data to the same computer.
Pictures. At home, pictures are absolutely one of the things we most want to protect, but in the work environment most of the pictures on staff computers are of a personal nature. They take up a lot of space, too, so it's a good idea to bypass the "Pictures" folder on desktops when configuring your backups. Exceptions to this rule may be the marketing department or other teams that use pictures in their work.
Music. It may be perfectly OK at your workplace for employees to listen to their iTunes library while they work, but you don't want to utilize online storage space your business is paying for to back-up these large files. Skip the "Music" folder when setting up your backup.
Videos. Unless you're using videos for training, this is another place where the chances are that only your marketing team has a business need and the files should be backed up. For most users, this is another large file type that is mostly personal and should be skipped in the backup process.
Temporary Files. Used by your computer to speed up performance of key applications and web sites, items like the temp directory, browser cache, and cookies account for a lot of wasted space on your hard drive. Don't waste the space twice by backing these files up.
A hosted backup solution is an ideal solution for protecting critical data and applications from multiple computers throughout your organization. Decide what you can and can't operate without and save vital data off site, automatically, and without the need for frequent human intervention.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 02:37
Written by Timothy Gillis
James Moore, a Portland native and an experienced sailor, was about 350 miles out in the Atlantic Ocean, east of Virginia Beach, when he encountered 25-foot breaking waves, 40-mph winds, lightning storms, and near-zero visibility. He was sure these moments were going to be his last.
"There was a 36-hour period where I thought we were going to die," he said this week. "The thoughts range from the minute, like 'what can I do right now to help our survival?' to the profoundly existential – the people you love – the decisions you made. Every decision you made before you left land may have been your last."
Earlier, when Sean Monesson, 40, and his father Larry, 60, asked Moore to sail Sean's boat, the Elusive, to Panama to connect with Sean's wife, it seemed like an ideal way to pick up valuable sea time in order for Moore to get his captain's license. The boat had been harbored in New Jersey. Sean's wife had moved to Panama, and he wanted to take his sailboat, which he lives on, there to be with her. The intended route was to head to Bermuda and then hit Panama at the canal. On the morning of May 20, at around 10 a.m., the crew began to encounter a large low-pressure system.
"There were huge waves, winds, no visibility, sheets of lightning," Moore said. "I stopped trying to navigate to any place and just tried to survive. My intention was to make it back to the East Coast, but it became impossible."
The boat had experienced a rigging failure and an engine failure. There was plenty of food on board, but cooking in 25-foot waves presents unique circumstances, Moore said.
"At that point, I'd been up for 30 hours straight, working on the ship. I found a large can of maple B&M beans. I thought this was something I could cook and make warm. It took me 30 minutes to open the can and heat it up. I got it into three bowls. It was the first hot food we'd had in a long time, and the last food we had before we abandoned the ship."
After a 600-foot Norwegian tanker responded to a Coast Guard emergency broadcast, Moore and the Monessons were rescued.
"I had about three minutes before the tanker rescue," Moore said. "I called my parents just in case — to say goodbye. Tanker rescues are not always successful. It was an emotionally difficult call for a father and mother."
The tanker took them to its previously planned port of call in North Carolina, with the rescue not altering its destination or affecting its arrival time. Moore has cousins in Raleigh, so there was an impromptu family reunion. Before returning to New York City, he flew back to his parents in Portland.
"I went back to apologize, for putting them through that," he said. "I helped my mom put in a garden and went sailing with my dad."
Moore has always been on the water, growing up in Readfield where he was within walking distance of three lakes.
"I grew up swimming, canoeing, and kayaking," he said. "My parents live in Portland and have a boat at the marina next to the B&M factory." Moore owns a 30-foot Alberg sailboat named Apollo.
After connecting with his loved ones after the rescue, Moore sat down and penned a thank you letter to B&G Foods, the parent company of B&M Beans.
"It may seem a little eccentric, but I was appreciative. I wanted to apologize or thank anyone who played a role in getting us out of there alive," he said.
He spoke of his plight this week, after returning with a crew of six from delivering a boat called the Avra from the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in Bermuda to Brewer Yacht Yard in Glen Cove, New York. He saw the more recent voyage as a way to get back on the horse, as it were, by getting back in the boat. It was the same run line where he had to abandon ship.
"It's the first time anything like that has happened to me," Moore said. "Some of the greatest sailors in the world have also lost their sailboats. Bermuda was colonized after a shipwreck. In retrospect, we got everyone off that boat. We didn't injure any of the rescuers. If everyone is alive and not missing any limbs, that's a success. Boats can be replaced; humans can't."
Although the experience may have prematurely aged him, Moore wanted to point out an inaccuracy of the Coast Guard report.
"They said I'm 40. I'm only 30."
Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 02:29
Written by Tony Payne
"Hey, Bob, so sorry to hear about the fire." Bob replies, "Thanks, but it's not until tomorrow."
If only perpetrators of insurance fraud spent their time being honest, consumers in the United States could save an FBI-estimated $40 billion a year on the cost of insurance fraud. According to insure.com, fraud costs add between $400 and $700 in annual premiums for property/casualty insurance coverage. So what is the insurance industry doing to fight back?
The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), an organization that works with insurers and law enforcement to detect and prosecute fraud, has a variety of indicators that are common to fraudulent claims. Claims with these attributes allow investigators to take a closer look to determine if someone is, in fact, taking unfair advantage of the system.
Greed and hardship are common motivators that manifest themselves with the following behaviors or circumstances:
The serial claimant is a good indicator that someone may be pushing the limits. A history of frequent insurance claims allows investigators to see patterns of either abuse or just plain bad luck.
People who are too cool, calm and collected also set off alarms when a claim is submitted. Theft, accidents and fires are emotional events for most people but if someone calls with very little anxiety, claim managers tend to probe.
Theft of family heirlooms or jewelry that have no documentation from an appraiser or jeweler also prompt a little more attention from investigators – particularly when the theft has not been reported to the police.
Claims adjusters also flag hand-written receipts that purport to establish value on various items. A penned receipt from Bob's Wicked Good Pawn Shop is going to prompt a call to the business for more information.
If someone filing a large claim is financially stressed as indicated by a poor credit report or forensic accounting, their house fire or stolen vehicle claim will be given more attention than the routine fender bender.
And, of course, someone who increases coverage on their home or business not long before a fire or theft occurs may be given some extra scrutiny. Investigators may talk with neighbors to see if any property has recently been removed prior to the claim being made.
Liability claims also are the playground of creativity and sometimes methodical planning. Workers' compensation claims for job-related injuries and illnesses always have been a challenge for both insurance companies and employers. A favorite tale is about the gal who claimed she had a debilitating back injury from her job as a patient care giver. Investigators discovered the ailing aide was running her own home renovation company while collecting workers' compensation benefits. At a formal hearing, the insurance company called upon a few of her construction clients who testified that she not only ran the job but hefted building materials. One added that the work wasn't all that good.
Outraged at having her workmanship questioned, the claimant blurted out, "What do you mean it was shoddy work?" Case closed.
Other kinds of indicators get attention of liability claim investigators:
A slip, trip or fall that has no witnesses
A worker who claims an on-the-job injury occurred late Friday or first thing Monday morning when, instead, it may have been an injury from a weekend softball game or other non-work related activity.
"I just found a dead mouse in my meal!" Though a great conversation starter for a quick financial settlement or complimentary dinner, it also is an allegation that likely will become a more serious fraud investigation.
Claims of whiplash from rear-end accidents are legendary turf for fraud. Whether carefully staged or subsequently exaggerated, investigators will perform surveillance and third-party questioning to determine if the claimant has been physically active or is truly injured.
Another gold mine for investigating fraud is Facebook and other social media. For some reason, perpetrators think that, somehow, just their friends are surfing the net when they brag about their illegal exploits. Not so.
All of us have a stake in reporting potential insurance fraud. If you suspect fraud, you contact NICB or can call the insurance department in Maine (800-300-5000) or New Hampshire (603-271-2261). You also may want to contact your local district attorney.
Last Updated on Monday, 14 July 2014 23:56
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