It’s the time of year when we’re spending a lot of time outdoors and in the sun. While the sun can be fun, it can also damage your skin and make you more vulnerable to developing skin cancer. In fact, the Southeastern region of the United States has some of the highest incidences of skin cancer in the nation. That’s why Lexington Medical Center is teaming up with Palmetto Dermatology to offer a FREE skin cancer screening on Friday, June 27, 2014.
The free skin cancer screening will take place from 9:00 a.m. – Noon on Friday, June 27 at 109 West Hospital Drive in West Columbia. That’s the Lexington Sleep Solutions building. To make an appointment, call Lexington Medical Center Community Outreach at (803) 936 – 8850 Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Capacity is limited. An appointment is necessary.
“Lexington Medical Center and Palmetto Dermatology are joining together to provide this important service to our community with the hopes that we can reduce the rate of melanoma in Lexington County,” said Connie Watson, Lexington Medical Center Community Outreach Director.
Upon arriving at the appointment, patients will fill out a questionnaire related to family and medical history. Then, they’ll receive a full body skin cancer screening from a doctor or physician assistant that looks for any suspicious moles or nodules on the skin. If the clinician finds something that appears suspicious, they will refer the patient to a doctor’s office for further inspection. Participants will also receive educational information about skin cancer.
Studies show that in 2013, more than 75,000 Americans were diagnosed with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. More than 9,000 patients died. Approximately 86% of melanomas are attributed to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Information from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows that about 1 in 5 people will develop skin cancer in his or her lifetime. And doctors at Lexington Medical Center have reported seeing an increase in skin cancer among young adults in their 20’s.
According to Dr. Jeff Smith of Palmetto Dermatology, melanoma can be a very dangerous disease. Although it only makes up 3% of skin cancers, it is responsible for 75% of skin cancer deaths. Other than breast cancer, it is the most common form of cancer for women under 40.
“Sun protection, prompt detection and aggressive management are keys to treating melanoma,” said Dr. Smith “It can also be difficult to see. Some melanomas start with something as small as a spot between your toes.”
Doctors emphasize the importance of monthly self skin exams and yearly dermatology checkups in an effort to achieve early detection. Moles with the following characteristics should prompt concern:
~Dark colors or multi-colored
~Diameter larger than a pencil eraser
Once a diagnosis is made, doctors perform prompt and appropriate surgical intervention.
To avoid skin cancer, experts recommend that patients:
~Use sunscreen with at least SPF 15 year-round when outside to avoid sunburn.
~Avoid tanning beds.
~Seek shade. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.