Michelle Rupp: Hello and welcome into this week’s edition AFMC TV. I’m your host Michelle Rupp. Joining us today is Rebecca Denniston from Dermatology Group of Arkansas and we are talking of course we’ve been talking about catching up on different checkups and dermatology checkup is just as important as a dental or vision or primary care. So, we are nearing the end of summer and it’s been a summer. And so, what are some of the things that we need to be kind of taking a look at being aware of as we start to go into the winter months?

Rebecca Denniston, PA-C : Yes, great question. You know, definitely towards the end of summer, I think that’s when people start thinking about skin checks because they’ve been in the sun, you know, all summer long, they might have had some bad sunburns during the summer. So really, you know, getting into the fall time is a great, great time if you’re for a skin check. You know, you can do at home skin checks. That’s something that is easy for a person to do. Things that you would want to look out for. So, moles in particular, anything that’s become asymmetrical, maybe the borders have changed, maybe the color is different, it’s bigger or just changing in general, those are things to look out for. And so, you can, you know, definitely look at your moles at home and kind of, you know, check and see if things have, you know changed and then of course if something’s bleeding or not healing. Those are kind of some red flags. But then in general, you know, if you aren’t particularly worried about something, you can definitely come in and have a good, you know, exam.

MR: Just because you find a mole doesn’t mean you’ve got skin cancer, right? There are just some harmless moles or freckles.

RD: Oh, yes definitely. And so sometimes it’s hard for, you know, the standard person to tell you know what’s harmful, what’s not harmful. And so definitely coming in and having those checked, you know, we can, you know, kind of give you a gauge of things to look out for. But yes, it it’s sometimes very difficult to tell what’s harmful and not.

MR: And they could be, and to your point, the whole reason why we’d want to come in, but you could have them on your scalp to places you can’t see.

RD: Yes, that’s right. And so that’s one of the benefits to a skin check is we really try to do a total body skin check. So, head to toe, you know, we look through your scalp, we look in between your toes, the bottom of your feet. Places that you wouldn’t normally look. And then the big thing is your back. You, you can’t see your own back. And so that’s something that, you know, having someone look at, you know, like a dermatologist, that’s going to be, you know, a good thing for sure. How often should we be having these checkups? So, there’s a lot of factors that go into that, you know, number of moles on your body, family history. How often are you in the sun? Did you have bad sunburns as a kid? I think starting off with a baseline skin check is good for any person. You know, no matter the age, especially if you have a lot of moles, but if you’ve got family history, that’s, that’s definitely a reason to come in. Especially if it’s family history of melanoma. And so for the average person that maybe they don’t have a family history of skin cancer, they don’t have a ton of moles, then you could, you know, have a skin check every 3-5 years. But if you’ve got that history or you have a ton of moles, we may be seeing you every year or every two years and then sometimes sooner if you’ve had, you know, skin cancer.

MR: If you have a little bit of a family history, but maybe don’t have a lot of moles. I mean, does it, do they go hand in hand in terms of if you have family history, then you’re really likely to develop. Yes,

RD: So, yes, and no. Melanoma specifically, there can be a genetic correlation with that. And so for sure, if you have a history melanoma, it’s something that you or family history of melanoma, you don’t want to take that lightly, you know, getting a skin check for sure is important. And then other types of skin cancer like basal cell and squamous cell, those are usually from sun exposure throughout your life. And so the history just kind of goes out the door. I mean it’s not, you know anybody could get those. And so the big thing is the number of sunburns you’ve had in your life will increase that risk. And so you know, just a couple of bad sunburns as a kid could give you skin cancer later in life and it’s all cumulative. So, the skin checks are very important really at any age. I mean we see skin cancer in 20 and 30 year olds unfortunately.

MR: Is there what is the definition of a bad sunburn? Because my definition and your definition may be different.

RD: Yeah, I mean you know most of the time you know when you have a sunburn, you know that that skin is you know red pink you know that that’s definitely a sunburn but there can be very bad sunburns that are more blistering in nature? Those are obviously much worse. But really any sunburns going to put you at risk for skin cancer potentially later. And about how long is a is a visit, how long of a check? Yeah, so they’re pretty quick visits, we bring you in if you choose to do a full head to toe exam, we get you in a gown and it probably takes about 10 minutes to really kind of thoroughly look at everything. And then, you know, potentially if we have to take some spots off that maybe concerning, that’s really pretty quick to do. It just takes a couple of minutes. So it’s very easy and you know, it can be overwhelming to come in and potentially have to be cut on. But it it’s really not as bad as it sounds. You know, the big thing with, with dermatology and skin cancer is prevention. And so if you can, you know, come in and have those checks early, it’s going to make a difference for sure, definitely. Okay back anything else we need to know. Yeah, I think, you know, just making sure that you’re coming in for your skin checks. It’s important. But then also your sunscreen and paying attention to your own body, All that goes hand in hand.

MR: Even as we do eventually head into the fall into the winter, it’s important?

RD: Definitely.

MR: Okay, Becca thanks so much.

RD: Thanks for having me