Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah
For Immediate Release
March 28, 2011
Huntsman Cancer Institute
Free skin cancer screening clinic Saturday, April 9
Huntsman Cancer Institute dermatologists warn fair-skinned young women and older men are at increased risk to develop melanoma and should be screened every year.
Salt Lake City, March 28, 2011— Sun-safe behavior and early detection are key steps to preventing skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of the disease. To help Utah residents find skin cancers early, Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) will hold a free skin cancer screening clinic Saturday, April 9, 2011 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Appointments must be made in advance. For a reservation, call the Huntsman Cancer Learning Center toll-free at (888) 424-2100. The free screening is part of HCI's effort to educate Utah residents about the hazards of too much sun and the importance of detecting skin cancers early.
"People in Utah are at especially high risk to develop skin cancer," says Sancy Leachman, M.D., Ph.D., director of HCI's Melanoma Cutaneous Oncology Program. "Our high altitude means there is less protection from the sun. That translates to more sun damage to our skin and more skin cancer."
Leachman further warns that this year more than 610 Utah residents will be diagnosed with melanoma. "One person dies every hour in the United States from melanoma," she says. "And statistically fair-skinned men over 50 have an especially high risk. Another alarming trend is the increased incidence of melanoma in young women between the ages of 15-39."
Melanomas often appear on the upper backs of men and women or on the legs of women, but can occur anywhere on the body. They may suddenly appear without warning, but can also develop from or near a mole. Although deadly when found in later stages, melanoma can usually be treated successfully if discovered early. Regular screening for skin cancer by a health-care professional is important for an early diagnosis.
Certain risk factors are associated with melanoma:
- A personal or family (parent, sibling, or child) history of melanoma
- Light skin that burns or blisters easily
- Blue, green, or gray eyes
- Excessive sun exposure during childhood and teen years; blistering and sunburns before age 18
- One or more atypical moles—that is, moles that may be unusually large, have color variations and/or irregular borders
"Melanoma can be prevented," Leachman says. "But people need to learn how to protect themselves."
Here are some tips for staying safe in the sun:
- Look at your skin all over three or four times a year. Watch for changes.
- Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with the ingredients titanium dioxide or
zinc oxide and an SPF of 30.
- Stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Cover up when you do go out
in the sun.
To learn more about protecting yourself from skin cancer, contact the Huntsman
Cancer Learning Center at (888) 424-2100, or log on to www.huntsmancancer.org.
To register for the free skin cancer screening clinic, call (888) 424-2100.
Pre-registration is required.