Skin cancers are usually curable if found and treated in their earliest stages, and you can improve your chances of detecting skin cancer by performing a skin self-exam every month. Early diagnosis can make all the difference.
That’s why Sanjay Shah, M.D., and Dalkeith Facey, DO, MBA, board-certified general surgeons at Massena Memorial Hospital offer a free monthly screening clinic at the hospital’s Surgical Group and Wound Care office, 181 Maple St., Suite B. The Skin Tumor/Lesion Detection Clinic is held on the third Tuesday of the month, from 9 to 11 a.m.
The next three clinics will be held June 19, July 17 and August 21.
Clinics are co-sponsored by the St. Lawrence County Cancer Fund, Inc., and are free for all ages. For an appointment or more information, please call the MMH Surgical Group’s office at 315-769-4656.
What to Look For
While skin cancer can be found anywhere on the body, it most often develops on the head, face, neck, hands, legs, arms and back. Skin cancer can appear as a reddened lump; a small, smooth, shiny, pale, or waxy bump; or a flat, red spot that is rough, dry, or scaly.
The most lethal form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma, usually begins in a mole. When examining moles, look for the “ABCDs” of malignant melanoma:
- Asymmetrical shape, meaning that one side of the mole does not match the other side
- Borders those are irregular, uneven, or ragged
- Color that varies from one area to another
- Diameter larger than six millimeters, or bigger than the standard eraser on the end of a pencil
How to Check Your Skin
Regular professional skin exams are important. Based on your personal risk factors and family history, your doctor can help you decide how often you should be checked. In between professional checks, here is how you can examine your own skin:
- Stand in front of a wall mirror in a well-lighted room, just after a shower or bath.
- Examine your face, neck, chest, arms, hands, stomach, and genital area.
- Uses a hand mirror to help you better see your buttocks and upper back in the full mirror reflection.
- Sit down to examine your legs, the tops and soles of your feet, and in between your toes. Use the hand mirror to check the backs of your legs.
If you notice anything questionable while examining your skin, talk to your doctor or make an appointment at the free monthly screening clinic.