May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month
Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. It is estimated that more than three million Americans will be diagnosed this year, more than all other cancers combined, says the American Cancer Society. And the rates are rising. As a result of these statistics and in recognition of National Skin Cancer Awareness Month, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in Hammond is offering a free screening Friday, May 22.
According to Charity Gay, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center early detection and prevention specialist, individuals should take note of any unusual or suspicious skin spots, especially changes in the size or color of a mole. She encourages anyone noticing any differences in their skin to talk to their doctor about a skin cancer screening.
“The good news is, skin cancer is actually one of the most preventable forms of cancer,” said Gay. “Many cases could be prevented by protecting the skin from excessive sun exposure, which not only reduces the risk of skin cancer, but also painful sunburns and premature wrinkles.”
A major risk factor for skin cancer is previous severe sunburns. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, it is a myth that most sun damage occurs in childhood and there is nothing that can be done about it as an adult. Instead, the Foundation says while 23 percent of sun damage occurs before age 18, it is cumulative. Therefore, it is never too late to start protecting yourself.
Generous sunscreen usage is an important way to protect your skin from the sun. The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention urges consumers to use sunscreen products with broad-spectrum protection – ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) – and an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or higher.
The following screening is for men and women 18 and older who do not have insurance and have not been screened for skin cancer in the last 12 months. No appointment is necessary.
Friday, May 22
Skin Cancer Screening
1910 West Thomas St.
For prevention tips, signs and symptoms, visit marybird.org/skin.
Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center is a regional cancer care organization that has been fighting cancer for more than 40 years. With five centers in Baton Rouge, Covington, Hammond, Houma and Gonzales, its service area encompasses 18 parishes across southeast Louisiana. For more information, please visit www.marybird.org.