Dr. Daniel R. Keech was the featured speaker at the monthly Lunch & Learn event at Medical Center of Southaestern Oklahoma on Wednesday.
Keech’s presentation was on skin cancer detection and prevention. Keech practices at the Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic of Durant and has been in the city for six months, coming from Athens, Texas where he was chief of staff and chief of surgery for East Texas Medical Center.
“We are trying to increase awareness of skin cancer, and the methods to help prevent it, such as sunscreen,” he said. “Skin cancer is cumulative, and we want to prevent further damage. Once you have one (skin cancer), you’re at risk to have more because of all the previous damage.”
The two types of skin cancers are basal and squamous cell cancers and melanomas. The latter are not as common, but often can be more severe.
Risk factors for basal cell and squamous cancers include ultraviolet (UV) light exposure such as sunburns or overuse of tanning booths; fair skin, older age, exposure to certain chemicals or radiation, or long-term skin injuries such as burns.
He said males are almost twice as likely to develop skin cancer as females. Risk factors for melanomas include UV light exposure, moles (or nevus), and a family history of melanomas. It is also one of the most common cancers for people under age 30.
Wearing hats and long sleeves while outdoors in the sun for extended periods are highly recommended methods to prevent skin damage from UV exposure. Use of SPF 15 sunscreen is recommended, especially for children.
For more information about skin cancer detection and prevention, visit www.skincancer.org.