It’s been feeling a bit cooler lately, but the sun is still out and health care professionals in Johnson City say that’s a big reason to keep protecting your skin. Our Elyse Mickalonis stopped by a free skin cancer screening and tells us why people of all ages should get their skin checked.
JOHNSON CITY, N.Y. -- Fall may be around the corner, but health care professionals want the public to be smart about their skin no matter the season.
"The sun is the sun. Obviously the strength of the rays are weaker in the wintertime, at least here, but it's still the same rays,” said James Crosby, M.D., UHS Wilson Family Medicine Residency Faculty. “Perhaps in the summertime, 15 minutes would give you the same damage as maybe a half hour in the winter, so there is a length of time, but if you're out skiing, the sun can do its damage."
On Saturday, UHS Wilson Medical Center played host to a free skin cancer screening clinic. Organizers say about 100 people signed up.
"I have never had my skin checked. As you get older, you just think, well maybe I should be more concerned about that. As it turned out there wasn’t anything to be concerned about,” said Marlene Wilklow, Endwell resident.
Good news considering that almost one million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each year, according to doctors and nurses, a big reason they recommend getting your skin looked at annually. They say people of all ages should look for changes in moles, lumps and patches and protect their skin.
“What we look for, these are nevi, but for the lay person you’d say a birthmark, but they’re not concerning, usually when we look at these there are four things we look for,” said Nazia Mashriqi, MD, UHS Wilson Family Medicine Residency.
Crosby added, “Asymmetry, are things completely the same on one side of the spot as the other?”
Mashriqi said, “We look at the border, edges, make sure it’s a nice round circle.”
Crosby stated, “Color, if the color has changed a lot or there’s more than one color. Diameter, if it’s bigger than a pencil eraser we’re a little more concerned.”
Crosby says many of the lumps and bumps they inspected on Saturday were benign. If you notice any changes in your skin, are fair skinned or have a history of bad sunburns, you should consult your doctor. Cosby says it’s important for people of all ages to protect their skin using hats, shade or sun block because even young people can develop skin cancer.