Skin clinic targets damage from the sun

Work is a fine balance of rejuvenation and prevention

Oak Bay resident Dr. Julian Hancock battles the sun on many levels at his latest location

Oak Bay resident Dr. Julian Hancock battles the sun on many levels at his latest location

By immersing himself in the neighbourhood, enjoying the IEOA Truck Light Convoy this winter, Dr. Julian Hancock learned a little history about his niche in the neighbourhood.

Hancock is a medical and cosmetic dermatologist with more than 30 years experience. The Oak Bay resident, with a thriving practice in Nanaimo, opened the small clinic on Fairfield Road in November.

His office anchors a recently built condo building at 1494 Fairfield Rd. that once housed an old general practitioner’s office. During the parade, he learned from a neighbour that when the previous doctor sold the property, knowing it would be redeveloped, he stipulated a medical clinic be part of the project.

Hancock’s Fairfield Skin Clinic fulfills the role, balancing beauty and health.

“We do the medical as well as cosmetic,” he explained.

While many a patient is interested in one or the other, skin rejuvenation or cancer concern, they go hand-in-hand. “Sun causes both,” said Dr. Hancock.

“It’s about people taking care of their skin – reduce risks of skin caner and make people look younger,” he added. “The risk of melanoma in Canada is about one in 80 and it’s getting more common. It’s one of the faster growing cancers out there.”

There is, he added, a near 100 per cent rate of defeating it if caught early. “People should be aware of their skin, looking for things that are different.”

There are now, for example, many more preventative methods, and treatments for pre-cancerous and non-melanoma skin cancers.

“They’re like icebergs. What you see is not what you get,” he said.

One way he gets below the surface is using photodynamic therapy where cream is applied to the lesions and absorbed by only cancerous and precancerous cells. Light is later applied creating a chemical reaction.

“You get rid of the bad guys, or 90 per cent of the bad guys, without scarring,” Hancock said.

It’s just one of several creams and treatments used at times in rotational treatment to offer a “left hook, right hook” fight.

“We do a lot more prevention now,” Hancock said.

While right now the clinic is open Fridays, he plans to expand to Thursdays and hire staff to expand hours further.

Learn more about treatments as well as Hancock’s storied working past, from working in Africa to with B.C. First Nations, at online.