Dr. Jackson Lam obtained his MBBS from the University of Melbourne in 2009 and trained through the Austin Hospital and Box Hill Hospital before obtaining his Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. He has since furthered his training in skin cancer through the University of Queensland and is a member of Skin Cancer College of Australasia. He has a keen interest in the detection of skin cancers and has considerable experience in the surgical removal of skin cancers on the body.
His talk tonight was about skin cancer screening and surgery. He told us about Dermoscopy which is a non-invasive method that allows the in vivo evaluation of colours and microstructures of the epidermis, the dermo epidermal junction, and the papillary dermis not visible to the naked eye. It is a tool called a Dermatoscope which gives the doctors a lot more detail about the skin and sees things that the naked eye can’t and will assist in the detection of melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. It is also useful in eliminating those things that are actually benign and don’t turn out to be skin cancer, therefore focusing on more suspicious things that might be suspicious.
He spoke about magnification or polarised light which cuts out the reflections similar to looking through water with polarised sunglasses helping to see through the skin to help detect skin cancers.
He also spoke about the different types of skin cancers. There are different types of clues to assess skin cancers
A. Asymmetry, it could be something suspicious
B. The border if it is uneven or grows out to one side
C. More than two colours particularly shades of grey and blue
D. Diameter more than 6mm. may be suspicious.
E. Evolution also where the spots are changed
Not everything that changes is suspicious, but should be looked at.
Dr. Lam then went on to talk about Vitamin D and sunscreen.
A lot of people have a Vitamin D deficiency without knowing it, but it can be picked up in a blood test. Vitamin D is primarily involved in the health of our bones. When you are vitamin D deficient, you have increased bone loss, increased turnover of your bone and it will increase your parathyroid levels and in children you can develop a condition called Rickets which is the bowing of the legs. This is fairly uncommon these days.
How is Vitamin D obtained and how much do you need?
Vitamin D is obtained from the sun, dietary sources such as fatty fish, eggs, milks and tablets and the amount of intake is complicated due to many factors. Age, women who are pregnant, breast feeding will require at least 200-400 IU or more when you get older. This can be supplemented by the sun but that also depends where you live or where you are out in the sun. Whether it is morning, midday or afternoon, but 15-20 minutes depending on many factors as mentioned.
Does sunscreen reduce the risk of developing skin cancers.
Yes, it does. When the UV index is above 3, sunscreen should be worn, but in Queensland it is always above 3, so in that case all the time when outdoors.
UVa is a long wave of light that penetrates future into the skins and is responsible for the ageing of skin
UVb causes the burning.
SPF rating is how long you can be out in the sun before you get redness.
The SPF rating of 15 will block 93% UVb, 30 will block 97% and 50 will block 98%. You should reapply frequently.
How much sunscreen should you use?
The face, ears, neck and arms about ½ tsp. of sunscreen. The chest, back and legs - 1 tsp. of sunscreen.
With all that sunscreen is the vitamin D reduced?
No, it doesn’t reduce the level of vitamin D. However staying indoors can reduce your amount of Vitamin D levels.
After many questions by the members, Dr. Jackson Lam finished his talk making sure we were aware that we should be checking any spots on your skin and protecting yourself when you are outdoors by using sunscreen.