Skin Cancer Awareness Month
By Jennifer Ward, student, School for Graduate Studies, Metropolitan Center-Manhattan Unit
May 18, 2012
May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Now that we’re quickly approaching warmer weather, it is a good time to consider getting a free screening and learn more about how you can prevent this disease. According to the American Cancer Society, “Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. It accounts for nearly half of all cancers in the United States. More than 2 million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancer are found in this country each year. Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, will account for more than 75,000 cases of skin cancer in 2012.” Although it is deemed the most common type of cancer, it is also the most preventable. Be your own health advocate by understanding the risk factors, symptoms and methods of prevention.
Some Risk Factors
- unprotected and/or excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation (sunlight, tanning booths)
- pale complexion (difficulty tanning, easily sunburned, natural red or blond hair color)
- family history of skin cancers
- multiple or unusual moles
- a history of severe sunburns
Common Signs and Symptoms
- changes on your skin, specifically in the color, size and shape of a mole
- scaliness, bleeding or change in appearance of a bump/nodule on the skin
- spread of pigmentation, such as dark coloring that spreads past the edge of a mole
- a change in sensation, such as pain or itchiness
Recommended Methods of Prevention
- The American Cancer Society suggests avoiding the sun during its strongest time, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
- Opt for a shady area and wear protective clothing/accessories, i.e., hats, sunglasses, etc.
- Always remember to apply sunscreen before you leave home (SPF 15 or higher is the recommended level).
- Avoid other strong sources of UV light, such as tanning beds and sun lamps.
Below is a list of New York hospitals that will be providing free skin cancer screenings in June 2012.
Free Skin Cancer Screenings in New York State:
- The Mount Sinai Medical Center, Huntington, N.Y. will be giving screenings on 6/25/2012, 2:30 p.m. - 5 p.m. Call 212-415-5630 to schedule an appointment.
- Phelps Memorial Hospital Center, Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., is holding screenings on 6/14/2012, 9:30 a.m. - 11 a.m. Call 914-366-3220 to schedule an appointment.
- The Putnam Hospital Center, Carmel, N.Y. will be performing screenings on 6/13/2012, 4:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. Call 845-279-4737 to schedule an appointment.
To sign up for eAlerts of screenings available within 50 miles of your ZIP code, visit the American Academy of Dermatology,p/>
This article is based on information from The American Cancer Society.