Skin Damage: How Much Do You Have?

By: Lindsay Irvin Email
By: Lindsay Irvin Email

Sun damage can be a forecast for future skin cancer, but how can you tell the severity of your skin damage? On June 5, 2007, the Kentucky Cancer Program, along with The Medical Center, offered free skin screenings. WBKO's Lindsay Irvin reports on a painless screening device that can identify potential trouble spots on your skin.

William and Joyce Buckman are taking a closer look at the sun damage on their face through a simple screening device known as the DermaScan.

Since William grew up on a farm and was always out in the sun, he had an idea of what to expect.

“Well you see the different colors according to how much sun damage you've had to your face over time," said Health Education Specialist, Susan Brown.

"I feel fine - I think it's about what I anticipated, but I think you need at my age and background, you need to have it checked. I do periodically, “ William said after getting his screening.

On the other hand, Joyce hasn't spent a lot of time in the sun. Before her screening Joyce was optimistic.

"I don't think I'll see a whole lot. I may be surprised because of my age and I'm not real good about protecting myself,” Joyce explained.

As she expected, she was surprised.

”It's worse. Yea. I mean you'll need to do this - you'll see you won't like it," Joyce said.

So I took a shot at the skin screening. Just looking at me, you may not be able to tell if I have any sun damage, but when I look into the DermaScan, it's a totally different story.

Brown said the DermaScan uses ultraviolet light to show the current level of sun damage on your face - not skin cancer.

"Sun damage will show up as a dark purple or purple-ish brown spot," Brown explained.

She said these spots are areas people should be aware of and protect, so it doesn't turn into skin cancer. If the spots become irritated, itchy or bleed.

Brown recommends people see a dermatologist because that could be a sign of skin cancer. Although it was worse than she expected, Joyce can rest a little easier.

"No I don't think I have any spots to check out, but I'm surprised at the sun damage I didn't think I had," Joyce said.

For more information on skin cancer, such as tips, facts and precautions, visit www.skincancer.org.


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