Q. How common is skin cancer?
Skin Cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States, with more than one million cases diagnosed each year.
Q. Can skin cancer be prevented?
Overexposure to the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself from ultraviolet radiation from the sun. First, apply a broad spectrum sunscreen, which protects against both UVA and UVB rays (this information can be found on the bottle of sunscreen). Choose a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15. Sunscreen should be applied liberally to all parts of the body exposed to the sun about 30 minutes prior to going outdoors. Sunscreen needs to be reapplied at least every two hours or after excessive sweating or swimming. Wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and even tightly-woven clothing can also be protective against the sun. One should also be aware that the sun’s UV rays are strongest from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Find shade when possible and avoid tanning beds.
Q. How can I determine my risk for skin cancer?
Anyone is at risk for skin cancer regardless of skin color; however, individuals with fair skin, blonde or red hair, and blue or green eyes are at an increased risk. Individuals who spend a large amount of time outside are also at a higher risk. If you have ever had a sunburn so severe it blistered, you are also at an increased risk.
Q. Where can I go to get screened?
Individuals over the age of 18 should see a dermatologist annually for a skin cancer screening. You should also be examining your skin monthly for any new growths or changes in existing ones. Skin Cancer is highly curable when caught early. The Cancer Center at Ball Memorial Hospital along with the Dermatology Clinic of Muncie, Lifetime Skin Care Centers, and University Dermatology Clinic will offer a free skin cancer screening on Thursday, May 22 from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. at The Cancer Center. You can schedule an appointment for this free screening by calling (765) 741-1073.Free screenings are also offered today in New Castle at the Ball Cancer Center at Forest Ridge, in Portland at the Vohr Mohr Clinic on May 12, and at Blackford Community Hospital in Hartford City on June 23. To learn more about these screenings, please call (765) 747-6090.
Q. What local resources are available if I want to learn more about skin cancer?
If you would like to learn more about skin cancer or to schedule a free presentation about skin cancer, please contact Becky Butts, Coordinator of Community Education at The Cancer Center at Ball Memorial Hospital