University of Minnesota Health dermatologists will offer free skin cancer screenings May 4, 2015, at the University of Minnesota Health Dermatologic Surgery and Laser Center as part of Melanoma Monday, an event designed to raise awareness of skin cancer and encourage regular skin examinations.
Dermatologists will perform full body checks or simply check suspicious lesions, depending on your preference. The Dermatologic Surgery and Laser Center is located on the University of Minnesota Medical Center campus.
Skin cancers fall into three categories: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma is the most commonly diagnosed, with more than 1 million new cases in the United States every year, while squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type with more than 400,000 new cases each year. Melanoma is less common, but is the deadliest form of skin cancer. If melanoma is not detected at an early stage, it can spread to other parts of the body and is potentially lethal.
“We are trying to teach our patients and the public the basics of sun safety, including wearing proper clothing, using adequate sun screen, and practicing sun avoidance,” said Dermatologic Surgeon Peter Lee, MD, PhD, who is the director of the Dermatologic Surgery and Laser Center.
“We also recommend routine skin self-examinations and annual skin checks with a dermatologist or a health care provider,” Lee said.
Skin cancers can appear anywhere on the body but are most common on sun- exposed skin, such as the back and shoulders for men and legs for women. People should watch for moles that change in size, color or shape. An asymmetrical mole, a darkly pigmented mole, or one with an irregular border should raise a red flag. A mole does not have to be raised to be dangerous—in many cases, flat, dark lesions are cause for concern.
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