St. Luke’s Dermatology provided free skin cancer examinations to golfers and volunteers Monday during the U.S. Senior Open at Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem.
“We want to support Saucon Valley Country Club as it hosts the U.S. Senior Open and use the national spotlight as an opportunity to remind people–golfers, specifically–about having safe fun in the sun,” explained Andrew C. Krakowski, MD, chair of the Department of Dermatology and the Program Director for the Residency in Dermatology at St. Luke’s University Health Network.
Skin examinations were held in the St. Luke’s Health and Wellness Pavilion during a day of practice rounds. U.S. Open players and volunteers could sign up for one of 50 appointments, during which they met with the St. Luke’s skin cancer screening team composed of resident physicians Dr. David Smith, Dr. Sarah Ahmed, Dr. Laraib Safeer and Dr. Shanthi Narla.
Dr. Krakowski was on hand, along with board-certified dermatologist and Mohs micrographic surgeon Dr. Ryan Johnson.
“Our skin cancer examinations are a simple but powerful tool for screening participants, allowing us to catch possible problems before they become major issues,” Dr. Krakowski said. “There is nothing better than spending an afternoon outdoors, however, you do have to remember that ultraviolet radiation from the sun puts you at increased risk for eye cataracts, accelerated skin aging and skin cancers.”
Dr. Krakowski added that if the St. Luke’s skin cancer screening team discovers something on one of the screening participants that needs further examination, they will offer that person expedited access to the Urgent Dermatology Clinic conducted on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at St. Luke’s Hospital-Anderson Campus. This state-of-the-art, full-service dermatology clinic handles a range of advanced testing and procedures, from skin biopsies to full skin cancer surgeries.
“If, for any reason, the participant cannot access our local St. Luke’s services, we will partner with them to convey our concerns directly to a dermatologist in the area in which they reside,” Dr. Krakowski said.
Of course, the best approach is prevention. He said, “You have to be ‘sun smart’ in order to be ‘sun safe,’ which starts with knowing your risk for sun damage at any given time.”
Dr. Krakowski recommends checking the Ultraviolet (UV) Index on a daily basis.
“It is a wonderful–and free–tool that takes into account your local geographical location, including your altitude, your distance from the equator, local ozone levels and the changing daily weather conditions to give you an on-the-fly prediction of the level of solar UV radiation by zip code,” he explained.
When the UV Index is high, you should consider spending more time indoors. If you have to go outside, practice good sun protection, which includes avoiding direct sunlight by seeking the shade. When in the sun, wear sun-protective clothing, including sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat, and apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Broad-spectrum sunscreens protect against both UV-A and UV-B radiation and have a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 50 or higher. Make sure to reapply your sunscreen about every two hours.”
“If you are going to be in the gallery as a fan at the U.S. Open, you might even want to bring an umbrella to shield yourself from the hard, midday sun,” Dr. Krakowski suggested.
The U.S. Senior Open will be held later this week, from June 23-26, at Saucon Valley Country Club.
Note: This community health news is brought to you in partnership with St. Luke’s University Health Network.
About St. Luke’s
Founded in 1872, St. Luke’s University Health Network (SLUHN) is a regional, nonprofit network of more than 17,000 employees providing services at 14 campuses and more than 300 outpatient sites. The Network’s service area includes 11 counties in two states: Lehigh, Northampton, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Montgomery, Monroe, Schuylkill and Luzerne counties in Pennsylvania and Warren and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey. St. Luke’s hospitals operate the largest trauma center network in Pennsylvania.