October 23, 2012

Gordon Hospital offers free skin cancer screening

Submitted by Gordon Hospital

CALHOUN — More than 76,000 new cases of melanoma skin cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. 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, will observe National Healthy Skin Month by offering free melanoma skin cancer screenings on Monday, Nov. 5, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Gordon Hospital. Please call (706) 602-7800, ext. 2305 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 Lanell Jacobs, director of Oncology Services at Gordon Hospital. “Your skin is the largest organ of your 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 Jacobs. “If you avoid the sun during the hottest part of the day (from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.), 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.”

These screenings are offered annually through Gordon Hospital and the Skin Cancer & Cosmetic Dermatology Center and are free; however, we ask that individuals schedule an appointment because of the large number of participants. To make your appointment, please call (706) 602-7800, ext. 2305.