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Published on April 22, 2013

Palos to offer Free Screening during Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Sun safety tips

  • Avoid direct exposure to the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If your shadow is shorter than you, seek shade as the sun’s rays are at their strongest.
  • Seek shade, especially in the middle of the day when the sun’s rays are strongest.
  • Wear protective clothing to guard skin from the sun.
  • Use sunscreen and lip balm with broad spectrum protection and a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher and apply at least 30 minutes before outdoor activities. Reapply every 2 hours.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat. If you choose a baseball cap, don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your ears and neck.
  • Wear sunglasses with 100 percent UVA and UVB absorption.
  • Don’t use sunscreen as a way to stay out in the sun longer.
  • Avoid tanning beds and sun lamps.
  • Use sunscreen even on hazy or overcast days.

SOURCE: American Cancer Society

Palos Community Hospital is sponsoring a free skin cancer screening in May as part of Skin Cancer Awareness Month.

The screening will be conducted by Southwest Dermatology from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday, May 11, at Palos Immediate Care, 7340 W. College Drive, in Palos Heights.

Participants should have a specific mole or marking to be examined as this is not a full-body exam. Since this is a screening, no diagnosis will be given. A follow-up will be recommended for any questionable growths.

Regular self-exams and professional screenings increase your chance of an early skin cancer diagnosis, when treatment in most likely to be successful. Changes in the skin – new growths, a sore that doesn’t heal or a change in the size, color or border of a mole – are things that should be addressed with a doctor.

“Skin cancers do not go away on their own, but rather become larger over time,” says John Fox, M.D., a dermatologist with Southwest Dermatology. “Catching skin cancers early can sometimes prevent the need for surgery or may even save your life.”

According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer accounts for nearly half of all cancers in the United States. More than 3.5 million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancer are diagnosed in this country each year. Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, will account for more than 76,600 cases of skin cancer in 2013.

The American Cancer Society named May as Skin Cancer Awareness Month to help educate people about sun protection and the dangers of skin cancer. To further the mission, the American Academy of Dermatology has designated the first Monday in May as Melanoma Monday and people are encouraged to wear orange May 6 as part of a national effort to raise awareness of skin cancer.

Appointments are required for the free screening and space is limited. To register, call (708) 226-2300.