At the McKay-Dee Hospital Cancer Center, we’re dedicated to educating people about skin cancer and the need for early detection. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States and affects over two million people every year. If you are at risk for skin cancer or notice an abnormality like an irregular mole or patch of skin, you should ask your doctor about getting a skin cancer screening.
A skin cancer screening can be performed by a dermatologist or your primary care physician. McKay-Dee Hospital holds annual cancer screenings, which are free to the public. For more information about the upcoming screening, call (801) 387-7484.
Early detection is vital with skin cancer. If it’s detected before it’s penetrated the skin, the typical survival rate is around 99 percent. If undetected, the cancer can advance which causes the survival rate to fall drastically.
How do you get skin cancer?
The American Cancer Society has found common skin cancer risk factors to include:
- Unprotected and/or excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation
- Fair complexion
- Occupational exposures to coal tar, pitch, creosote, arsenic compounds, or radium
- Family history
- Multiple or atypical moles
- Severe sunburns as a child
Signs of Skin Cancer
Additionally, common symptoms and signs of skin cancer include:
- Any change on the skin, especially in the size or color of a mole or other darkly pigmented growth or spot, or a new growth
- Scaliness, oozing, bleeding, or change in the appearance of a bump or nodule
- The spread of pigmentation beyond its border such as dark coloring that spreads past the edge of a mole or mark
- A change in sensation, itchiness, tenderness, or pain
If you have any of these symptoms, contact to your doctor about a screening.
How to avoid skin cancer
Skin cancer is preventable. Limit your exposure to the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Seek shade during the hours when the sun’s rays are the strongest. Choose comfortable clothes made of tightly woven fabrics that aren’t see-through. And when outdoors, always apply sunscreen with a protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.
The Cancer Education Center at McKay-Dee Hospital offers a variety of educational materials about skin cancer prevention and treatment.
If you have any questions about skin cancer or skin cancer screening, call (801) 387-7484.