Cancer Center Offers Free Skin Screenings
(Houma) Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. It is estimated that more than two million Americans will be diagnosed this year, accounting for nearly half of all U.S. cancers, says the American Cancer Society. And the rates are rising.
Despite common myths, everyone, regardless of skin color, can get skin cancer. Unfortunately, mortality rates remain disproportionately high in darker skinned people due to lack of early detection and later stage diagnosis of the disease.
“Though the statistics are sobering, skin cancer actually is one of the most preventable forms of cancer,” said Renea Duffin, vice president of cancer support and outreach, Mary Bird Perkins. “Many of these cases could be prevented by protecting the skin from excessive sun exposure, using sunscreen and avoiding tanning beds and sun lamps.”
A major risk factor for skin cancer is severe sunburns in the past. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, it’s 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 – both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) – and an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or higher.
Additionally, the Council recommends avoiding sunburns, intentional tanning and use of tanning beds; wearing sun-protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses; limiting sun exposure when the sun’s rays are most intense, generally from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and using extra caution near water, snow and sand. Ultraviolet rays travel through clouds, so be sure to protect your skin even on cloudy or overcast days.
Skin cancer is very treatable when detected early. Be aware of the American Cancer Society’s signs and symptoms of skin cancer:
- Any change on your skin, especially in the size or color of a mole, growth or spot, or a new growth (even if it has no color)
- Scaliness, oozing, bleeding or a change in the way a bump or nodule looks
- A sore that doesn’t heal
- The spread of pigmentation (color) beyond its border, such as dark coloring that spreads past the edge of a mole or mark
- A change in sensation, such as itchiness, tenderness or pain
Below is a list of free screenings being offered in May by Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center at TGMC. These screenings are for men and women 18 and older who do not have insurance and have not been screened for skin or breast cancer in the last 12 months.
Appointments are necessary for the breast screening only. Please call (888) 616-4687 for scheduling.
Monday, May 12
Breast Cancer Screening
2174 Martin Luther King Blvd.
9 – 11 a.m. & 12 – 2 p.m.
Tuesday, May 13
Skin Cancer Screening
1435 W. Tunnel Blvd.
12:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 31
Skin Cancer Screening
1415 St. Charles St.
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center at TGMC provides the full spectrum of cancer care, from prevention and early detection to diagnosis, treatment, recovery and survivorship for those in the Bayou Region. Its services include chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery, as well as patient navigation, clinical trials and free community screenings. The Center is nationally accredited with commendation and recognized for excellence in cancer care by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer.