Health and Wellness Summer 2013 - page 8

Health & Wellness
Summer 2013
The Garden City Telegram
Summer tans are something many
people aspire to, but that copper tone
may not necessarily be healthy.
With the amount of sun that shines
in southwestern Kansas and the many
people who work outdoors in the region,
risk for different types of skin cancers is
increased, health officials said.
FamilyphysicianDr.Michael Jackson,
Garden City, said doctors like him care
for the whole patient, which includes
screenings. If a patient has a concern,
sometimes it’s within the capacity of a
family physician to treat them. If not,
the primary care physician can refer
patients to a dermatologist elsewhere in
the area or a general surgeon who can
remove a growth.
Sometimes a skin concern can be
related to another disease process.
“The advantage of a primary care
(physician) doing this is that he or she
knows the whole patient, knows their
past history, their problems,” and the
medicines they take, Jackson said.
“I think primary care is certainly
capable of doing all the basic screen-
ing,” Jackson said.
If the doctor doesn’t know what it
is, they will consult a specialist, who
may see certain conditions more of-
ten than a general practitioner.
Nine times out of 10, Jackson said,
primary care doctors can tell patients
what a growth might be, whether to
keep an eye on it or whether a special-
ist needs to look at it. Patients also can
help by keeping an eye on their own
skin and looking for any changes.
Garden City does not currently have
a dermatologist, but local physicians
either can take care of it themselves,
or refer patients to a specialist. Jack-
son said there is one each in Liberal,
Ulysses and Dodge City, but “they are
very busy and hard to get in to see.”
“We’ve had dermatologists in the
past, but it’s hard to keep them here
because of (our) location,” Jackson
said. “But you know someone in der-
matology could be very busy here.
There’s no question about that. They’d
be busy overnight.”
Jackson noted this is the time of
year when the sun is up longer and
people do a lot of sun worshipping.
Young children and young adults
tend to be out in the sun more, how-
ever, that sun exposure leads to risk
of skin cancer later on. Lots of sun
exposure also can cause chronic
damage to skin that can lead to high
risk of skin cancer or cause wrinkles,
Jackson said.
People with a family history of skin
cancer, those with complexions that
don’t tan well and get sunburned a lot
over time, are also at risk.
Those who work outside should
stay indoors between 10 a.m. and
3 p.m., getting out after 3 or 4 p.m.
when the sun’s intensity is reduced.
protecting against
By Ruth Campbell,
He also advises people to wear suntan
lotion with a sun protection factor of
15 to 30, especially with kids in the
pool; and dress appropriately with
a light, tightly-woven long-sleeved
shirt if possible.
“Try not to hammer yourself over
the seasons or years,” Jackson said.
You could still get skin cancer, but
taking precautions will limit the risk,
he said.
Jackson said people also should take
care of their skin by keeping it clean,
dry and well lubricated. During the
winter, there is a lot of dry heat that
causes skin to dehydrate and get dry,
which can cause cracks and put skin
at risk for infection.
He recommends minimizing the
use of harsh soap and applying mois-
turizer to extremities.
Jennifer Ebersole, a nurse practi-
tioner at Dermatology Laser Center
in Liberal, said about 80 percent of
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