October 17, 2013

Gordon Hospital offers free skin cancer screening

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. In observance of National Healthy Skin Month, Gordon Hospital, in partnership with Skin Cancer & Cosmetic Dermatology Center, will offer free melanoma skin cancer screenings on Monday, Nov. 4, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Harris Radiation Therapy Center at Gordon Hospital. Please call (706) 602-7800, ext. 2305, to reserve a screening time.

“Summer may be over, but your risk for skin cancer doesn’t end with the season,” says Lanell Jacobs, director of Oncology Services at Gordon Hospital. “The bottom line is you need to protect yourself year-round. Prolonged, unprotected sun exposure and sunburns are primary causes of skin cancer.”

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 apply sunscreen and lip balm with SPF of 15 or higher even on cloudy and cool 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.


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