An important community service event was recently held for Skin Cancer Awareness Month. On Saturday, May 13, more than 260 patients attended the free skin cancer screening event hosted by members of the UVA Health Department of Dermatology and UVA Health Cancer Center.
“This event is important because it allows us to educate people about skin cancer prevention and detection,” says dermatologist Mark Russell, MD. “We always find skin cancer that people didn’t know they had, allowing them an opportunity for early treatment, which is associated with better outcomes.”
This year, 87 patients were referred for suspected precancerous and cancerous skin lesions. Some of these patients may not have had access to this specialized care if it weren’t for this free event. “Thank you to the faculty, residents, medical students, nurses, access staff, and volunteers who came together to serve our community,” says Dr. Russell.
- One bad sunburn with blistering — or 5 less severe sunburns — doubles your chance of getting melanoma. This is a serious type of skin cancer that can spread to other organs.
- Certain medications and skin care products can increase your risk for sunburn, so be sure to read the labels.
- The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so seek shade or ensure your skin is protected if you’re outdoors during these hours. Wear sunscreen and/or protective clothing.
- Skin cancer is more common in those with lighter skin, but people of color are more likely to die of the disease. That’s because they often get skin cancer in areas less likely to get sun exposure and they don’t get a diagnosis until cancer is at a later stage. In other words: everyone needs sunscreen!
- Remember to apply your sunscreen evenly prior to going in the sun and do not forget areas like the part in your hair, lips, and tops of your feet. Reapply every two hours under normal circumstances, and every hour if you’re sweating heavily or in the water.