Skin Cancer

About Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is on the rise. According to the American Cancer Society, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in his/her lifetime. In fact, more than 5 million Americans will be diagnosed this year alone, and melanoma will account for more than 76,000 cases of invasive skin cancer. But as dangerous as it can be, it is also very curable if caught early. We want you to know the importance of examining your skin and having changes checked by your doctor. Checking your skin monthly can save your life!

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Adult men and women should examine skin regularly and see a doctor to evaluate new growths or changes in existing growths.


Certain physical features can be a risk factor such as a lighter natural skin color or skin that burns, freckles, reddens easily, or becomes painful in the sun; blue or green eyes; blond or red hair; or having certain types and a large number of moles. Other risk factors can include family or personal history of skin cancer, exposure to the sun through work and play, a history of sunburns, especially early in life, or a history of indoor tanning.


The most common sign of skin cancer is changes on your skin. To examine your skin for changes, check for the five most common features in a potentially abnormal spot: asymmetry, border, color, diameter and evolution. If a spot is asymmetrical, then one half of the spot does not match the other. Check the border to see if the edges are irregular, ragged, notched or blurred. If color is not the same all over and may include different shades of brown or black, or sometimes with patches of pink, red, white, or blue, then it may be an abnormal spot. Check the diameter to see if the spot is larger than 6 millimeters across (about ¼ inch – the size of a pencil eraser), although melanomas can sometimes be smaller than this. A spot is evolving if it changing in size, shape, or color. If you notice these changes on your skin, please talk to your doctor.


Disease Site Team

Disease site teams, or multidisciplinary care teams, are specialists from each diagnostic, treatment and supportive care discipline working together in the same facility where state-of-the-art cancer treatment is given, and relevant research is conducted.

Clinical trials

Clinical trials are research studies that involve human beings in order to test new ways to prevent, detect, diagnose or treat diseases. A drug must be part of a clinical trial before the FDA will approve it to be put on the market. Oncology clinical trials are conducted in order to test new drugs or a new combination of drug treatments, new surgery and radiation therapies and new medical devices.

Every cancer center patient is evaluated for participation in a clinical trial. Those who meet the criteria to participate in clinical research receive a standard of care treatment, but with the added benefit of a trial that may enhance their outcomes.

If interested in volunteering to participate in a clinical research trial, or if you have concerns about the conduct of clinical research, please contact the Clinical Research office at (225) 215-1353, or by email at

Additional Support

  • American Cancer Society: The American Cancer Society website contains information on many aspects of cancer care geared toward patients and caregivers.
  • American Academy for Dermatology: American Academy of Dermatology provides resources and guides for specific types of skin cancer.
  • Centers for Disease and Prevention: The Centers for Disease and Prevention website provides resources for breast cancer patients.
  • Melanoma Research Foundation: Melanoma Research Foundation is a national organization serving patients with melanoma and their caregivers. The resources offered on their website include educational resources as well as links to their online patient community.
  • Sarcoma Alliance: Sarcoma Alliance is an organization dedicated to supporting patients with Sarcoma through education, advocacy, and support groups.
  • Skin Cancer Foundation: The Skin Cancer Foundation is an international organization devoted solely to education, prevention, early detection and prompt treatment of the world’s most common cancer