An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure - Melissa Clements, MD - Oklahoma City
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An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

Summer activities and travel enticed me from finding discipline at a keyboard.  I have finished transplanting 2/3’s of my garden and have done my autumn planting, closets are turned (where is the long awaited sweater weather?), and am grappling with thoughts of turkey and dressing in but a handful of weeks. That’s always a challenge for me in central Oklahoma because the weather remains so darned hot.

Everywhere I turn I see people who pay good money for treatment of sun damaged skin flaunting guidelines meant to minimize risks for developing and needing to treat premature aging of skin, pre-cancers, cancers and other sun related disorders, and finding ways to correct damage and scars and revitalize skin with products, chemicals, and lasers.  It is common to see a young mother out for a stroll or run with her shaded infant strapped to her chest or in a stroller while every available centimeter of maternal skin that can be exposed is greedily soaking up the sun.

My husband, brown as a berry, turns an ever deaf ear to reminders to cover up when in the yard or at a football game; he rolls his eyes and assures me that his hat is in his golf bag.  Emerging from photodynamic therapy last week, a procedure in which a lot of heat is generated on areas being treated and for which we provide a strong stream of refrigerated air for comfort, a patient commented that the appeal of heat (and by inference, the sun) is exactly what got her into the position of needing to be treated with topical chemothrerapy and BLU-U….she hadn’t been uncomfortable!

I should rejoice in the prospect of job security. But, I remain concerned that people protect themselves while enjoying outdoor lifestyles.  Broad spectrum sunscreen, broad brimmed hats, long sleeves and pants, UV screening sunglasses and selecting the proper hours for exposure go a very long way towards minimizing risks and damage.

No matter how fine the tools of the trade may be or become, no lotion, potion, laser, or scalpel can provide a better product than the original covering that is ours to protect and preserve.  Skin, the largest organ system of the body and our first line defense from environmental and immunological assaults, must last each of us a lifetime.

Heed Ben Franklin’s adage that, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”! As concerns the ravages of time wrought by ultraviolet light, the patient’s job is to cheat me out of needing to diagnose and treat!