Sunday, December 27, 2009

Free Skin Cancer Screening from the AAD

Skin Cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US. Fortunately, most skin cancers can be treated -- even melanoma early detection.

Here is a nice link from the American Academy of Dermatology. They schedule free skin cancer screenings in locations across the US -- usually in the month of May, which is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention month. The website warns that you should sign up early since the number of slots is limited, and they provide the option of signing up for an email notification when a screening is scheduled within 50 miles of your zip code.

They also have information on how to do a self-screening (with a mirror) and what to look for. Here are the Warning Signs, from the Skin Cancer Foundation:

The Warning Signs

* A skin growth that increases in size and appears pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black, or multicolored
* A mole, birthmark, beauty mark, or any brown spot that:
o changes color
o increases in size or thickness
o changes in texture
o is irregular in outline
o is bigger than 6mm or 1/4”, the size of a pencil eraser
o appears after age 21
* A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab, erode, or bleed
* An open sore that does not heal within three weeks

It is great to be checked regularly. Early detection is important, but prevention is even better. So, don't forget to put on your sunscreen, and to get lots of Vitamin D from fish oil, supplements, and fortified milk.

Byron Russell

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