Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. It accounts for nearly half of all cancers in the United States. More than 3.5 million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer will account for more than 76,600 cases of skin cancer in 2014. As a way to raise awareness and diagnose skin cancer earlier, SGMC’s Pearlman Cancer Center is offering free skin cancer screenings on Thursdays, May 8, 15, and 22 from 5:30pm – 7:00pm. The screenings will take place at the Pearlman Cancer Center.
Local dermatologists Dr. William R. Howard, Dr. Betsy P. Thacker, and Dr. John A. Cole will conduct the screenings. According to the American Cancer Society, risk factors for skin cancers include:
• Unprotected and/or excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation (sunlight or tanning booths)
Pale skin (easily sunburned, doesn’t tan much or at all, natural red or blond hair)
•Occupational exposures to coal tar, pitch, creosote, arsenic compounds, or radium
• Family history of skin cancers
• Multiple or unusual moles
• Severe sunburns in the pastSkin cancer can be found early, and both doctors and patients play important roles in finding skin cancer. Signs and symptoms include:
• Any change on your skin, especially in the size or color of a mole, growth, or spot, or a new growth (even if it has no color)
• Scaliness, oozing, bleeding, or a change in the way a bump or nodule looks
• The spread of pigmentation (color) beyond its border, such as dark coloring which spreads past the edge of a mole or mark
• A change in sensation, such as itchiness, tenderness or painTo prevent possible skin cancer, you should limit or avoid exposure to the sun during the midday hours, 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
When outside, cover as much of your skin as possible. Wear a hat that shades the face, neck and ears, a long-sleeved shirt and pants. Wear sunglasses to protect the skin around the eyes. And most importantly, use sunscreen with a solar protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. If you would like your skin examined by a local dermatologist, please call today to register for a free appointment at SGMC’s FREE skin cancer screenings. Appointments may be made by calling 229.259.4422