Free skin cancer screening March 7

Feb. 22, 2013 @ 06:10 AM

Rutherford Regional’s Cancer Resource Center is offering a free community skin cancer screening Thursday, March 7, from 3 to 6 p.m. Space is limited, and pre-registration is required by calling 245-4596.

Skin cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute, is the most common type of cancer in the United States with more than one million cases reported each year. Skin cancer is most commonly first detected by a change on the skin; changes can include a new growth, a sore that doesn’t heal or a change in the size, texture, color or shape of an existing mole or growth.

“Skin cancer is almost always curable with early detection and treatment,” said Jamie Ingraham, Cancer Outreach program manager. “The best way to detect skin cancer in its earliest stage is frequent skin screenings by a physician.”

Those who are at an increased risk of developing skin cancer are those who have experienced early or high levels of UV radiation either from the sun or frequent use of tanning beds; live in areas of the country that have high concentrations of UV such as the Southern states or mountain or desert areas; have a family or personal history of skin cancer; have fair skin, skin that freckles, red or blond hair and blue eyes (although people with light skin are at a higher risk for melanoma, those with darker skin are not immune); have multiple moles; and those who experienced severe or blistering sunburns as a child or teenager.

According to the National Cancer Institute, people can take steps to help prevent and reduce the risk of skin cancer by avoiding tanning beds and sun exposure to the midday sun (from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) whenever possible. If you are outside, wear long sleeves, long pants, a wide brim hat or sunscreen. Wearing sunscreen that is labeled as a “broad- spectrum coverage,” which filters UVA and UVB rays, is also recommended. An SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or greater offers the most protection against sunburn. Reapply sunscreen often when playing and swimming.

UV radiation can penetrate light clothing, windshields and windows. It can also be reflected by sand, water, snow and ice. Wearing sunglasses to protect the eyes and the skin around the eyes can help; the label should specify that the lenses block at least 99 percent of UVA and UVB radiation.

In addition to free screenings, Rutherford Regional’s Cancer Resource Center offers cancer patients information about their diagnosis, treatment options and cancer support groups and services. Experienced cancer nurses are available to answer questions and assist patients and their families in their journey.