PHILADELPHIA – A suspicious looking mole, rough spots or a new growth on skin that doesn’t go away, are all possible signs of skin cancer. Early detection is key in order to effectively treat the disease and stop its progress. Experts recommend that people with known risk factors – such as significant past sun exposure or a family history of skin cancer – have an annual skin examination by a dermatologist.
Penn Medicine dermatologists will offer free skin cancer screenings on Saturday, May 22 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Ruth and Raymond Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine. The screening is sponsored by Penn Medicine’s Department of Dermatology and the Abramson Cancer Center.
“At last year’s skin cancer screening, Penn dermatologists examined 248 patients,” says Christopher Miller, MD, assistant professor of Dermatology and director of Dermatologic Surgery at Penn Medicine. “Of that amount, 141 patients required follow-up for obvious tumors, biopsy of suspected tumors or treatment of a non-cancerous condition. That high number shows why it is so important to take advantage of an opportunity to have a dermatologist check your skin for any signs of cancer.”
During the screening – which only takes about seven minutes – dermatologists will thoroughly examine each person to look for any unusual or suspicious spots on the body.
“Prevention and early detection are the keys to protecting yourself from skin cancer,” Miller says. While the likelihood of developing skin cancer increases with age, skin damage from the sun begins at youth. Increasing numbers of younger people are getting skin cancers. “It’s so important to start protecting our skin in early childhood to prevent skin cancer later in life.”
Appointments for the May 22 Penn Skin Cancer Screening are necessary and space is limited. Call 215-662-2737 to make a reservation and for more information.
The Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine
1st Floor, Suite 330S
3400 Civic Center Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19104
May 22, 2010
8 am to Noon
Christopher Miller, MD, assistant professor of Dermatology and director of Dermatologic Surgery at Penn Medicine
About Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, affecting about one in five Americans at some point in their lives, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. If left untreated, skin cancer can cause disfigurement, loss of function of important structures in the body and death. Fortunately, the vast majority of skin cancers are curable if they are detected early and treated effectively.
Signs of skin cancer can include:
- Rough spots that feel like sandpaper on the head, neck, hands or forearms
- A new growth that doesn’t go away
- Pink spots or bumps that never go away
- Brown or black spots that are new or changing
General risk factors for skin cancer include:
- Excessive exposure to the sun or tanning beds
- Sunburns in the past
- Fair skin, light eyes or light hair
- Freckles and moles
- Family history of skin cancer
- History of organ transplant and immunosuppressive treatments