DEARBORN — With warmer weather and increased sunshine on the horizon, now is the time to guard against skin cancer. Excessive exposure to the sun is often the main cause of skin cancer – the most common cancer in the United States.
The Beaumont-affiliated Wayne State University Physicians Group, Department of Dermatology, will host free SPOTme skin cancer screenings from 2 to 5 p.m. May 10, at the Dearborn Medical Park, 18100 Oakwood Blvd., located across the street from Beaumont Hospital-Dearborn.
The screenings are being offered in conjunction with Melanoma and Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month.
The screenings are open to the public and will take place in 15- to 30-minute increments. Register by calling 800-543-WELL or by going to the classes and events page on the Beaumont website, www.beaumont.org.
“Prevention is key with skin cancer and all types of sun damage,” said dermatologist Dr. Elena Hadjicharalambous. “Your attention to skin protection and regular screenings is going to pay off down the road, because the earlier a problem is detected, the better the outcome.”
Most skin cancers can be found early with skin exams by your doctor or by checking your own skin frequently.
Regular skin exams are especially important for people who are at higher risk of skin cancer, such as those with reduced immunity, those who have had skin cancer before, and those with a strong family history of skin cancer. Talk to your doctor about how often you should have your skin examined.
Sun exposure can also cause wrinkles, blotches and skin spots.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends some simple and important steps to prevent sun damage:
• Wear protective clothing, including a hat with a four-inch brim.
• Apply sunscreen all over your body and avoid the midday sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Regularly use a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 of higher, even on cloudy days.
It’s also important to check your own skin at least once a month. A skin self-exam is best done in a well-lit room in front of a full-length mirror. You can use a hand-held mirror to look at areas that are hard to see, such as the backs of your thighs. A spouse or close friend or family member may be able to help you with these exams, especially for hard-to-see areas like your back or scalp.
The first time you examine your skin, spend time carefully going over the entire surface. Learn the pattern of moles, blemishes, freckles, and other marks on your skin so that you’ll notice any changes next time. Be sure to show your doctor any areas of concern.
You should specifically look for the following ABCDEs when scanning moles, blemishes or other marks on your skin:
• Asymmetry, or spots that have unusual shapes.
• Borders, or spots that have irregular edges.
• Color, or change in color.
• Diameter, or a spot that is larger in diameter than a typical pencil eraser.
• Evolution, anything that changes over time.