The Skin Group’s new practitioners talk melanoma
Story by Mariah Kline
Photos by Kathryn Harrington
May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and the first Monday of the month is known as Melanoma Awareness Day. According to the practitioners at the Skin Group – one of Louisville’s premier dermatology clinics – more than five million Americans annually are diagnosed with skin cancer and one million of those people are living with melanoma.
To provide awareness and education about how preventable melanoma, basal cell and squamous cell cancers are, the Skin Group is offering free skin cancer screenings throughout the month of May. And to aid in the efforts of their expanding practice, the group has added two new professionals to their roster – nurse practitioner Shannon England and medical aesthetician Janelle Willoughby.
England received her undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky and her nurse practitioner degree through Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing, which is now Frontier Nursing University. She has worked in dermatology for six years, and while her focus is primarily on medical cases, she also handles cosmetics.
“I’ve been committed to healthcare since 1999,” England says. “I do this to help others, and I have a passion to make a difference in someone’s life. I also have a background in women’s healthcare, so I see all ages, from birth to geriatrics.”
Willoughby has worked in the industry for more than 20 years and in aesthetic dermatology for nearly 10. She received a business and communications degree from Texas State University before studying aesthetics at the Christine Valmy School in New York, which was the country’s first learning institution for aesthetics.
“It’s so wonderful and rewarding for me, even though it might be cosmetic,” says Willoughby, “I love the way (aesthetics) can instill confidence and help someone’s self-esteem, whether it’s a young acne patient or it’s a busy mom who doesn’t want to look exhausted.”
The Skin Group takes both the medical and the cosmetic side of dermatology seriously. Since most people don’t want to wear sunscreen every day – though it’s crucial to apply and reapply it as often as possible – England and Willoughby work with patients to develop different formulas of sunscreen for every skin type.
“No one’s saying you cannot be in the sun,” says Willoughby. “We’re not telling anyone they can’t have a tan. (The key) is to do it smart. Wear sunscreen and you can still develop color under the protection. The aging and burning rate is what will cause skin cancer.”
“For young people under 30, the rate of developing melanoma is almost 50 percent higher than it was in 1980,” says England. “We can attribute it to a myriad of factors and it’s a startling statistic. One factor is tanning bed abuse. If you use a tanning bed before the age of 30, that increases your risk for melanoma approximately 80 percent.”
While they’re both new to the Skin Group, England and Willoughby previously worked together for more than six years. As they begin meeting their new patients at the Skin Group’s three locations (the group recently opened a new office off of Old Henry Road), the two look forward to providing excellent care and furthering their bond as practitioners.
“We really work seamlessly together,” says Willoughby, “and it happened organically that she would refer a lot of patients to me and I would reference medical concerns to her. We just have the (right) rapport with one another I think with our personalities and the way we approach things. We’re very excited to be a part of the group.” VT
The Skin Group
Downtown, 444 S. First St.
Brooks Plaza, 150 Brooks Way
East End, 2401 Terra Crossing
Abide by the ABCDEs
To help detect skin cancer and understand if one of your moles may be cancerous, follow the ABCDEs:
B: Borders changing
C: Color variation
D: Diameter (larger than the head of a pencil eraser)
E: Evolving and changing
In addition to monitoring yourself, the Skin Group’s experts highly recommend checking in for annual skin exams and having someone regularly take pictures of your back – the number one area where skin cancers are found – to monitor any changes.