The popularity of outdoor activities in the Bow Valley area has led to an increased occurrence of significant sun damage, precancerous growths and skin cancer in the local population. Seeing this as a potential crisis, dermatologist Dr. Paul Lubitz of Canmore, AB has made it his goal to reduce those numbers.
How can this be done? By keeping everyone inside all the time? Hardly. Dr. Paul Lubitz of the Bow Valley Dermatology Clinic in Canmore, AB sees patient education as the key to reducing the risks of developing skin cancer and skin damage caused by the sun.
Because of these concerns, Dr. Lubtiz has chosen to structure his practice in Canmore, AB in a way that is different from the norm. Dr. Paul Lubitz makes a concerted effort to focus on patient education with every person who walks through his door. Dr. Lubitz also places a priority on seeing a low volume of patients because it gives him time to sufficiently examine and educate each and every person.
Just what does patient education achieve? Dr. Paul Lubitz answers: “Patient education and increased awareness help patients take a more active role in their health. This active role by patients is key to lessoning the instances of skin cancer in the Canmore, AB area and to reducing the severity of several other dermatologic diseases such as psoriasis, eczema, and acne.”
According to Dr. Lubitz, here are some ways residents can play it safe in the sun:
- Apply and reapply sunscreen. Dr. Paul Lubitz of Canmore, AB elaborates, “Wearing appropriate sunscreen when outdoors is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of skin cancer…other than staying out of the sun completely, of course. At Bow Valley Dermatology, we stress the importance of reapplying sunscreen every four hours when outside for prolonged periods of time and remind everyone to use it even on hazy and overcast days.”
- Cover up. Long-sleeve shirts, and long pants can help guard against the damaging effects of the sun when prolonged sun exposure is inevitable. Dr. Lubitz adds, “Make use of comfortable clothes made of tightly woven fabrics that you cannot see through when held up to a light. These fabrics help to disperse the intense rays of the sun. Another good idea is to wear clothing made from fabrics actually designed to protect the skin from the dangerous effects of sun exposure. Several clothing, travel and outdoor activity companies produce these shirts, pants and hats with an SPF of at least 50.”
- Wear a hat. “At Bow Valley Dermatology, we suggest Canmore, AB area residents wear wide-brimmed hats that shade face, ears, and neck,” says Dr. Paul Lubitz. “If you wear a baseball cap, remember to use a high SPF sunscreen to protect the sides of your face, your ears and neck that are not protected with this type of hat.”
Other ways to mitigate sun damage include wearing sunglasses, staying in the shade when possible, and avoiding the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Dr. Lubitz also encourages avoiding the use of tanning beds. “Sources of UV light such as tanning beds and sun lamps are dangerous and can damage skin in more ways than regular solar rays. There is good scientific evidence that clearly shows that the usage of tanning beds directly increases the risk of developing skin cancer. In this regard, there is a growing trend of governments in Canada and elsewhere to introduce legislation forbidding tanning beds to persons under the age 16 years old because of the known cancer risks. This is definitely a step in the right direction.”
“Preventative maintenance is common knowledge as it applies to you car and can save a whole lot of hassle down the road,” says Dr. Paul Lubitz of Canmore, AB. “Unfortunately, preventative maintenance is less common as it applies to the effects of sun exposure on your skin but just as critical as it is for your car. The simple steps outlined above can have a dramatic effect on the health of your skin and your life. At Bow Valley Dermatology, we want residents to take charge of their own health rather than waiting for problems to occur and we strive to educate them accordingly. We want them to act rather than react.”
Through his on-going efforts at Bow Valley Dermatology, Dr. Paul Lubitz will continue to educate the residents of Canmore and the Bow Valley and hopefully will have a positive effect on reducing the incidence of skin cancer in the area.