MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center at West Virginia University and WVU Healthcare will offer free skin cancer screenings from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 12, at the Cancer Center. Advance registration is required by May 8. Call 304-598-4500 to make an appointment.
Participants will be asked to complete a form describing their medical and sun exposure history and will be examined by a physician. If anything suspicious is found during the five-minute exam, the patient will be referred for a dermatology appointment.
“Unlike some cancers, skin cancer can be detected at an early stage when it is curable,” Rodney Kovach, M.D., WVU Healthcare dermatologist, said. “Even melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer, has a high cure rate if detected early. That is why it is so important to schedule an annual skin cancer screening by a physician.”
In addition to seeing a physician annually, Dr. Kovach recommends a monthly skin self-exam.
“You should check for things like changes in moles, dry and scaly rough patches, and slowly growing bumps,” he said. “Get to know your skin and what is and isn’t normal.”
To prevent skin cancer, Kovach recommends:
• Avoiding extended periods of sun exposure, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are most intense
• Avoiding tanning beds and sun lamps because both natural and manmade U.V. exposure are the primary causes of all skin cancers
• Daily application of a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an S.P.F. of 30
• Wearing sunglasses that block the most harmful rays
• Wearing long sleeves, long pants, and a wide-brim hat while outside.
The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that one in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime, and one person dies from melanoma every hour.
“Our annual skin cancer screening is an opportunity to continue raising awareness about skin cancer,” Kovach said, “and to remind and encourage people to follow advice on how to protect their skin.”