May is skin cancer awareness month and here at Health Central we want you to stay safe and understand the warning signs of skin cancer, know where to go to get a free skin cancer screening and what to do if you think you, or someone you care about, may have skin cancer.
Almost one half of all Americans who live to age 65 will have skin cancer at least one time in their life. Each year, in the United States more than 2 million people are diagnosed with 3.5 incidents of skin cancer, making it the most common form of cancer.
The most common form of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type. Approximately 90 percent of all cases of skin cancer are a result of exposure to the UV rays of the sun.
Warning Signs of Skin Cancer
Melanoma normally develops in an existing mole, but can also develop in other spots. It is often seen on those parts of the body most exposed to the sun's rays. Knowing your body, and all the moles and other lesions, can help you spot when one begins to change, one of the early warning signs of skin cancer. The American Cancer Society uses the ABCDE method to help individuals know what to look for when doing skin self screenings.
A - Asymetry - moles are usually symmetrical, meaning that you can draw a line through the middle and both sides will look the same. Moles that are asymmetrical should be seen by a doctor.
B - Border - moles normally have even borders, those with jagged or uneven borders should be seen by a doctor.
C - Color - moles should be consistent in color and are normally brown, black or tan. Those that are different shades of color within the same mole or are red or blue should be seen by a doctor.
D- Diameter - Moles are normally ¼ inch or smaller. Those larger than ¼ inch should be seen by a doctor.
E - Evolving - If you have a mole that changes in size, shape or color, you should see your doctor.
Where to Find Free Skin Cancer Screenings
Throughout the spring and summer months, a number of different organizations offer free skin cancer screenings throughout the United States. That means, even if you don't have insurance or can't afford to see a doctor, you can talk with a professional and find out if you need further medical care.
The following sites have the ability for you to search for a free screening site near you:
In addition to the above sites, you can contact your local health department or local hospital. Many provide free screenings for skin cancer during May and June.
For more information on skin cancer screenings:
"2009 Skin Cancer Fact Sheet: Statistics," 2009, American Cancer Society
"Do You Know the Signs of Skin Cancer?" Date Unknown, Dr. Rob, Discovery Communications
"Skin cancer Facts," Date Unknown, Reviewed by David Polsky, M.D. and Steven Q. Wang, M.D. , Skin Cancer Foundation
Published On: May 03, 2012