Health Team

Couple preaches skin cancer screenings

Posted June 6, 2008 5:04 p.m. EDT
Updated June 6, 2008 9:17 p.m. EDT

— The second round of the Rex Hospital Open, which helps raise money for community cancer screening programs, is this weekend at the TPC Wakefield Plantation.

A couple who volunteer at the tournament credits the event with helping them prevent skin cancer.

Curt and Lucy Barnhill are veteran volunteers at the tournament. Both are used to spending hours in the sun.

“I spent my youth on a lake in summer and I was out in the sun from the time it came up until the time it went down,” Lucy Barnhill said.

Two years ago at the tournament, a Rex Healthcare worker referred the couple to a dermatologist for skin cancer screening. The screening showed nothing on Curt Barnhill, but doctors noticed a small, worrisome spot on Lucy Barnhill’s back.

A biopsy showed the black spot was precancerous, so it was removed.

“The beauty of the screening is you find these things before they become cancerous,” Curt Barnhill said.

Every year now, the Barnhills get skin cancer screening.

Dermatologist Dr. Matt Flynn said the screening is “one of the most cost-effective things you can do in terms of saving years of your life.”

Flynn said there are certain warning signs for which to look.

“If it bleeds, if it changes rapidly – or if something grows and it's black and really dark – get it checked,” Flynn said.

Flynn said the average person only uses a fourth of the amount of sunscreen that is recommended. Used that way, a sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 will only have the effect of an SPF 3.

Experts advise using generous amounts of sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and wearing a broad-brimmed hat.

They also suggest staying in the shade during the sun’s peak hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.