A Golfer’s Enemy

Tiffany Nelson
Director of Business Development
TPC Scottsdale
Scottsdale, AZ

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Being a female, I would (should say, still do) lay out in the sun for hours. I really did it during the summer because I had to get rid of my golfer’s tan. My chest and foot lines were the worst, especially if I wore a dress or sandals. Then, everyone knew I was a golfer because my shoulders and the V part of my shirt would be tan and the rest white. I don’t know about you, but my shoulders, no matter how much sunscreen I put on them, always turn red from the sun. Everyone’s always telling me, “You need to put sunscreen on”. I do, it just sweats off and I don’t bother to reapply (yes, mom, I know I should!). 

I get checked every year for skin cancer as I tend to have a lot of freckles on my body. I’ve had melanoma on my leg before and have had 10 biopsies in various places on my body. Not very pretty scares by the way. Okay, now that you know way too much about my body, let me tell you some great news – there is a new skin cream to destroy pre-cancerous cells! Yes, a cream according to the article in Golf Digest by Ashley Mayo.

Until recently, the best way to remove any pre-cancerous cells was either by scalpel (which from experience is not the best feeling, nor best looking) or liquid nitrogen. But, thanks to improvements in dermatology, you can now destroy these cells by simply applying a cream. Many dermatologists recommend photodynamic therapy (PDT) as a way of killing actinic keratoses, lesions that can become squamous cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer that in some cases can turn deadly if not detected early. 

Here’s how it works:
A cream is applied to the skin and is absorbed by pre-cancerous cells. When the cream is exposed to a red light (The Aktilite CL128 lamp, which is equipped with light emitting diodes (LEDs), emits red light), chemicals within it produce oxygen radicals that attack the pre-cancerous cells. The treatment has been around for almost a decade, but in recent years the FDA has approved new creams – Levulan and Metvixia – that target these cells and can destroy them even if they lie a third of a millimeter below the skin’s surface. 

According to Dr. Michael Kaminer, a dermatologist and skin cancer surgeon, PDT is better than other techniques for three reasons. First, the creams can be used on any part of the body. Second, they can treat other types of sun damage, including sun spots. Third, they can erase large areas of sun damage in a short time, not just specific spots the way liquid nitrogen is used. 

Of course, there are always some drawbacks to these new creams. PDT can cause mild discomfort during treatments, which lasts two hours or less. Recovery takes about two days and might involve redness and peeling. Good news is insurance plans usually cover the cost of PDT to treat pre-cancerous cells, but generally don’t cover the cost ($500 - $1,000) if it’s used to reverse cosmetic damage.

I don’t know about you, but I would much rather use a cream than the scalpel! Or,  just remember to ALWAYS apply sunscreen when you’re going to be out in the sun. See you on the course!

Tiffany Nelson is Director of Business Development at TPC Scottsdale/ PGA TOUR located at 17020 North Hayden Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85255. You can reach her at 480.585.4334, ext. 226. Follow TPC Scottsdale on Facebook (The TPC Scottsdale) and on Twitter www.twitter.com/tpcscottsdale and keep up with all the action!