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Tips for Preventing Skin Cancer

 

Mark Gimbel, MD, is a surgical oncologist for Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center.

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Banner Health: Tips for Preventing Skin Cancer - Full Transcription

Audio: Music over opening titles and introduction.

Text:   Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center presents
  PATIENT POWER

Text:  Tips for Preventing Skin Cancer
  Mark Gimbel, M.D.
  Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center

Text:  Andrew Schorr
  Founder and Host, Patient Power
  Author, The Web-Savvy Patient

Image:  Andrew Schorr on camera

Audio:  “What do you recommend to family, friends and those of us watching today, Dr. Gimbel, particularly where there’s so much sunshine in Arizona, to lower our risks of any of these skin cancers?”

Text:   Mark Gimbel, M.D.
   Surgical Oncologist
   Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center

Images: Dr. Gimbel and Andrew Schorr on camera as each speak.

Dr. Gimbel Audio:  “The key to preventing skin cancer is starting early. I can’t tell you how many times I go to a pool or to a lake or even the ocean where I see children running around, beat red, not having any sun protection, either hat, sunscreen, swimming shirts. And it starts early. Sun damage that you gain is cumulative throughout your life so whatever you’re getting as a child when your skin doesn’t have the protection, that’s going to be the worst exposure. So, if you have a child, you want to be putting sunscreen on them regularly. If they’re in the water a lot, you want to make sure they have swimming hats and swimming shirts so you can really prevent the sun damage from starting early. Now, as I said, it is cumulative so you still want to protect your skin as you go along and you still want to be wearing sunscreen, lose clothing as you’re doing it.

For the sunscreen, we typically recommend using an SPF of 30 or above to give you adequate protection. I think 30 is the least I would use for sunscreen, however, just because you put it on once during the daytime, you need to keep reapplying it approximately every two hours. And if you’re swimming or sweating, it needs to be reapplied much more frequently.”

Andrew Schorr Audio:  “Okay. Now, of course, there are a lot of golfers, tennis players, people out hiking in Arizona. What about the hours of the day? I’ve heard it said sometimes that, if you can, you want to avoid when the sun is strongest.”

Dr. Gimbel Audio:  “And you’re right. It seems to be a little self-evident that the stronger the sun, the hotter it is. The more likely you’re going to get the stronger, the more direct radiation from the UV rays. And as the earth curves and as the sun is rising, those rays are not directly hitting the skin or at least not at the same intensity. And at the higher, the stronger points during the day, yes, you are actually getting more ultraviolet radiation to your skin so you do want to avoid the high parts of the day.”

Andrew Schorr Audio:  “And wear a hat.”

Dr. Gimbel Audio:  “And definitely wear a hat.”

Andrew Schorr Audio:  “Okay. Let’s talk about those UV rays. So people want to look tanned and beautiful. And so there is the tanning industry and some people felt, ‘Well, those are safe UV rays.’  What’s your feeling about that?

Dr. Gimbel Audio:  “A very common misconception. I will tell you right now, there are no safe UV rays. There’s three types: there’s UVA, UVB and UVC. The ultraviolet C rays don’t usually make through our ozone layers to the surface of the earth. However, the UVA and the UVB rays do make it through and both of those can lead to, if we’re talking cosmetic, wrinkling and loss of collagen tone in the skin, but ultimately they can lead to the squamous and basal cell cancers as well as the melanomas. There is no safe ultraviolet radiation.

Going to these tanning booths actually provide high levels of ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B radiation. The fact that they state that there’s good radiation I think is false in the first sense and then, when you are in the tanning booth, you’re getting this high intensity, just like when the sun’s up in the sky in the middle of the daytime, the high intensity radiation that’s really effecting the skin. So I think we need to be really careful about using the tanning booths because it’s actually been shown to increase risk of melanoma by seven fold.

Andrew Schorr Audio:  “All right. People are warned about that, their going out in activities outdoors, of course, and using the proper sunscreen and even clothing that you spoke about. So what about the relationship with their doctor? How often should people be checked if they suspect something? And then maybe, one time, they have something cut out or frozen, whatever the procedure may be. It would seem like they would want to be in a regular dialogue with their doctor to see if anything else is changing or developing somewhere on their body.”

Dr. Gimbel Audio:  “I think it’s going to be a little bit different for everybody, however, if you have a child who doesn’t have any skin lesions, I don’t think you need to keep taking your child to a dermatologist every year or really worry so much about skin checks at that time. Now, if they start to develop lesions or moles or freckles, then you want to have a higher frequency of follow up. And that may be once a year. As we get older and as we start to develop more skin markings, then we want to have them looked at, probably at least once a year by our primary care physician. As you start to get more and the skin starts to age, and we see it more frequently and you are diagnosed with, say, a basal cell or a squamous cell and some skin changes, then you want to establish a relationship with a dermatologist who can biopsy these lesions quite easily, who can follow you much more frequently.”

Andrew Schorr Audio:  “Just to sum up, then, prevention and early detection—that’s the name of the game for any of this.”

Dr. Gimbel Audio:  “And I can’t stress enough how important that is. That is, as long as you can prevent it, then you can avoid it from happening. Now we need sun. Sun is important for us. I’m not saying avoid the sun at all costs. The sun makes us feel good. It’s healthy for us. But everything in moderation and protect yourself and prevent yourself from getting those burns.”

Andrew Schorr Audio:  “Okay. Dr. Mark Gimbel, Surgical Oncologist at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, thank you so much for explaining this to us. We appreciate it.”

Dr. Gimbel Audio:  “Thank you, Andrew.”

Image:  Andrew Schorr addresses camera

Audio:  Closing music over conclusion and titles.

Andrew Schorr Audio:  “Andrew Schorr here from Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center. Remember, knowledge can be the best medicine of all.’”

Text:   Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center presents
  PATIENT POWER

Text:  Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center
  Making Cancer History
  ©  2012 Banner Health

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Gilbert, AZ 85234
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