GENETHERAPY - Elevate Magazine - September/October 2009
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GENETHERAPY - Elevate Magazine - September/October 2009


If you’ve ever wondered how much sun damage you already have—and what your predisposition for skin cancer is in the future—a new screening tool at Toronto’s DLK on Avenue can shed some light on the subject. The dermaDNA Cellular Assessment Kit is the first of its kind to measure the extent of UV damage and how prone your genetics make you to skin cancer later on.

“Skin cancer is the most common cancer – 80,000 Canadians are diagnosed with it every year,” says Dr.Lisa Kellett, principal dermatologist at DLK on Avenue. “This is a good tool to help people become more cognizant of sun protection and staying out of the sun.”

The assessment includes two in-office DNA tests. A simple swab of the skin cells on the inside of the cheek helps Kellett determine whether specific genetic variants are present that indicate a greater risk of developing skin cancer (independent of hair or skin colour). The second swab, taken across the bridge of the nose, shows the degree of photo-damage that’s already taken place. The most common signs that you’ve spent too much time in the sun include brown spots, premature wrinkling, broken capillaries and the appearance of pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions. (Always see a doctor if you notice anything new on your skin or any changes, advises Kellett.)

About two weeks after the assessment, you’ll receive your results, at which time Kellett discusses treatment options. “We talk about prevention;there are also different ways to treat photo-damage, including intense pulsed light, fractional lasers and vitamins A and C,” she says.

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