More than 60,000 new cases of melanoma skin cancer will be diagnosed this year, and early detection is critical for survival.
According to the American Cancer Society, Melanoma can almost always be cured in its early stages, but it is likely to spread to other parts of the body if it is not caught early. Gordon Hospital, in partnership with Skin Cancer & Cosmetic Dermatology Center, is pleased to offer a free melanoma skin cancer screening on Monday, November 2, 2009 from 4-6 p.m. at Gordon Hospital. Please call 706-879-4732 to reserve a screening time.
“It is very important to be checked for skin cancer each year as part of your annual health physical,” says JoAnn Silvers, RN, certified cancer nurse navigator with the Gordon Cancer Resource Center. “Your skin is your largest organ of the body so it is important to protect it and check it for possible disease. This screening is a great, free way to do that.”
Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. It accounts for nearly half of all cancers in the United States. The following is a list of risk factors for skin cancer:
· Unprotected and/or excessive exposure to the sun
· Fair complexion
· Occupational exposures to coal tar, pitch, creosote, arsenic compounds, or radium
· Family history
· Multiple or atypical moles
· Severe sunburns as a child.
It is important to be aware of signs and symptoms of skin cancer. If you are experiencing any of the following you should not delay being checked by a physician.
· Any change on the skin, especially in the size or color of a mole or other darkly pigmented growth or spot, or a new growth
· Scaliness, oozing, bleeding, or change in the appearance of a bump or nodule
· The spread of pigmentation beyond its border such as a dark coloring that spreads past the edge of a mole or mark
· A change in sensation, itchiness, tenderness, or pain.
“Practicing sun safety can help lower your risk for skin cancer,” says Silvers. “If you avoid the sun during the hottest part of the day (from 10 am until 4 pm), apply sunscreen and lip balm with SPF of 15 or higher even on cloudy days, wear a hat, avoid tanning beds, and wear light, reflective clothing, you can greatly reduce your chances of skin cancer.”