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Monday, July 30, 2012 - MMH Spotlight: Skin Cancer Awareness
Article Fast Facts
• Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers, affecting more than two million Americans each year.
• More than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people are diagnosed annually.
• One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of their lifetime.
• Over the past 31 years, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.
• A community skin cancer screening will be held in the surgical department at Marietta Memorial Hospital on Tuesday, August 7 from 5 – 7 p.m.

Most Common of All Cancers
Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers, affecting more than two million Americans each year, a number that is rising rapidly. It is also the easiest to cure, if diagnosed and treated early. When allowed to progress, however, skin cancer can result in disfigurement and even death. The Skin Cancer Foundation provides some unsettling numbers:
• More than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people are diagnosed annually.
• One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
• Over the past 31 years, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.

Sun Exposure Isn’t the Only Risk Factor
According to the National Cancer Institute, sun exposure is certainly a risk factor for developing skin cancer, but it isn’t the only one. Factors such as hair, eye color and the amount of freckles you have could indicate an increased risk for developing skin cancer. Personal and family history with skin cancer also increases your risk. Other risk factors include:

• lifetime skin exposure
• severe, blistering sunburns
• tanning
• sunlamps and tanning booths
• certain medical conditions or medicines: medical conditions or medicines that suppress the immune system or make your skin more sensitive to the sun increase the risk of skin cancer.

If You Can Spot It, You Can Stop It
Performed regularly, self-examination can alert you to changes in your skin and aid in the early detection of skin cancer. It should be done often enough to become a habit, but not so often as to feel like a bother. For most people, once a month is ideal, but ask your doctor if you should do more frequent checks.

What To Look For
There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Because each has many different appearances, it is important to know the early warning signs. Look especially for change of any kind. Do not ignore a suspicious spot simply because it does not hurt. Skin cancers may be painless, but dangerous all the same. If you notice one or more of the warning signs, see a doctor right away, preferably one who specializes in diseases of the skin.

The Warning Signs
• A skin growth that increases in size and appears pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black or multicolored
• A mole, birthmark, beauty mark or any brown spot that:
• changes color
• increases in size or thickness
• changes in texture
• is irregular in outline
• is bigger than 6mm or 1/4”, the size of a pencil eraser
• appears after age 21
• A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab, erode or bleed

Prevention
• Seek the shade, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
• Do not burn.
• Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.
• Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
• Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
• Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
• Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
• Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
• See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.

Community Skin Cancer Screening
Early detection of skin cancer can make a difference. Take advantage of the Community Skin Cancer Screening on Tuesday, August 7 from 5 – 7 p.m. located in Marietta Memorial Hospital’s Surgical Department, 401 Matthew St., Suite 401. This screening is FREE and open to the public. However, there are limited appointments. You must register to participate in the screening. Register by calling (740) 568-5232.

The Memorial Health System is a not-for-profit health system governed by a volunteer board of community members that are committed to providing comprehensive services that meet the needs of our region. We are comprised of a network of two hospitals, outpatient service sites, assisted and long-term care facilities and a retirement community. We work in innovative ways to meet the healthcare challenges of today, while preparing for the health needs of our communities in the future.
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Memorial Health System
401 Matthew Street, Marietta, OH 45750
(740) 374-1400
© 2014, Memorial Health System.
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