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.
“The good news about skin cancer is that it is nearly 100 percent curable when annual skin cancer screenings are performed by a physician and the cancer is detected early,” Rodney Kovach, M.D., chief of the WVU Section of Dermatology in the WVU Department of Medicine, said. “Our annual skin cancer screening is an opportunity to continue raising awareness about skin cancer and to remind and encourage people to follow advice on how to protect their skin.”
To prevent skin cancer, Dr. Kovach recommends people avoid excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun and indoor tanning devices, as they are the primary cause of all skin cancers, including melanoma. Sun exposure should be avoided between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are the brightest.
Kovach also recommends applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 daily; wearing sunglasses that block most harmful rays; wearing long sleeves, long pants and a hat with a wide brim while outside; and avoiding tanning beds. A monthly skin self-exam should be done to check for any changes in moles or other skin growth.
“Despite all the skin-saving advice available, a recent study presented this year at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research found that more than a quarter of people who have had melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, say they never use sunscreen, and 2 percent admit to having used a tanning bed in the last year,” he said.
Melanoma accounts for about 75 percent of skin cancer deaths, and the incidence of melanoma continues to rise. The American Cancer Society estimates that nearly 9,500 deaths will be attributed to melanoma this year.
For more information: Amy Johns, Director of Public Affairs, 304-293-7087