Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer with more than 3.5 million cases diagnosed each year, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Fortunately, it’s also one of the easiest to cure if diagnosed and treated early. That’s why it’s so important to know what’s normal for your skin, and to know the ABCDEs of melanoma:
Asymmetry. If you draw a line through the mole, the halves don’t match.
Borders. The edges of the mole are uneven.
Color. The mole is different shades of brown, tan or black, or even red or blue.
Diameter. The mole is larger than a quarter inch.
Evolving. Any change in size, shape or color is a warning sign.
A physician on staff at Community Hospital in Munster will provide free skin checks to look for indications of cancer or pre-cancerous conditions. Areas on the skin to be included in the screening exam are warts, birthmarks, moles, suspicious spots or growths, or areas that have had excessive exposure to the sun.
“People can create a ‘body map’ of themselves, noting all the shapes, colors and locations of moles, tags and other markings on their skin,” says Jason Petrungaro, MD, FACS, plastic surgeon on staff at Community Hospital. “That way any changes or new moles can be more easily identified during monthly self-examinations or when you have an appointment for an evaluation.”
Free screenings will take place from 6 to 8:30 pm on Wednesday, September 23 and from 6 to 8 pm on Wednesday, September 30 at Community Hospital. Registration is necessary. Please call 219-836-3477 or toll-free 1-866-836-3477 to register.
Upon arrival, use the North entrance (entrance C-off Calumet and Fisher) of the Parkview Tower. Take escalator or elevator to the first floor. The screening will be in the Radiation Therapy department.
Can’t make a screening? Regular self-exams are key to finding cancer early, when it’s most treatable. Go to skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/early-detection and scroll to the bottom of the page to download a body map to track any changes in your moles and birthmarks. Then talk to your doctor. For more information about Community Hospital in Munster or for a free physician referral, visit www.comhs.org/community.