Gibbs Cancer Center puts skin cancer in focus - FOX Carolina 21

Gibbs Cancer Center puts skin cancer in focus

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GREER, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Healthcare experts from Spartanburg Regional Health System will discuss skin cancer awareness Wednesday at the Gibbs Wellness Café.

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and a dermatologist will lead a discussion on prevention and educational topics during the monthly meeting at the Gibbs Cancer Center in Greer.

SRHS officials warn that periods of unexpected exposure to the sun will result in ultraviolet (UV) radiation reaching the inner layers of skin, which produces more skin pigment and making the outer layer tan or red. “These color changes are a response to injury and do not indicate good health. Excessive UV exposure over time could lead to skin cancer,” officials warned in a news release.

SRHS officials said there are approximately 3.5 million skin cancer cases, and 2.2 million people are diagnosed with a form of skin cancer each year.

The good news is skin cancer is curable if diagnosed and treated early.

During the discussion, the dermatologist will discuss the types of skin cancers, the severity, and spots and blemishes on the skin to be looking for.

Moles will be a focal point of the discussion.

Hospital officials released the following information on moles.

The average person has between 10 and 40 moles on their body.

The number of moles you have can change throughout your life: new moles can develop and some may disappear as you age. But what exactly are they, and where do they come from? Moles are small, colored spots made of melanocytes, which are cells that create skin pigment.

Though most moles are harmless, it is important to keep an eye on them in case they develop into abnormal moles-called dysplastic nevi-which have the possibility of becoming cancerous.

You may be uncertain if a mole is cancerous or not, which is why it's important to visit your primary care physician or dermatologist each year for a full-body skin exam. In between those exams, look yourself over when you get out of the shower and be on the lookout for any new or abnormal looking moles.

SHRS recommends using the “ABCDE method” when checking moles:

  • "A" stands for asymmetrical. Does the mole or spot have an irregular shape with two parts that look very different?
  • "B" stands for border. Is the border irregular or jagged?
  • "C" is for color. Is the color uneven?
  • "D" is for diameter. Is the mole or spot larger than the size of a pea?
  • "E" is for evolving. Has the mole or spot changed during the past few weeks or months?

SRHS also included these tips on how to protect against skin cancer.

  • Do not burn. Your risk for melanoma doubles if you have five or more sunburns at any point in your life.
  • Do not tan or use UV tanning booths. Tanning booths increase your risk of skin cancer, and also cause premature damage, such as wrinkles and age spots.
  • Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses. Clothing can be your most effective form of sun protection.
  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher and re-apply every 30 minutes.
  • Examine your skin head-to-toe every month. If you notice any change in an existing mole or discover a new one that looks suspicious, see a physician immediately.
  • Consider genetic components. Those with fair skin, red or blond hair, a family history, or green or blue eyes are at a higher risk.

The Gibbs Wellness Café: Spot on Skin Cancer meeting will begin at noon. Call 864-560-6508.

SRHS is also offering skin cancer screenings on June 14 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Medical Group of the Carolinas - Mountain Park, located at 135 Botanical Circle in Travelers Rest.

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