WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Residents and faculty from the Department of Dermatology at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center will conduct a free skin cancer screening (on exposed parts of the body only) on Friday, Sept., 10 from noon to 6 p.m. at Hanes Mall, Belk Court. The event will also offer free educational information about skin cancer.
Most Americans still don’t know the warning signs of one of the most common types of skin cancer. Caused by cumulative sun exposure, actinic keratosis (AK) is very common – affecting as many as 10 million Americans – more than all skin cancers combined.
AK appears as rough, red, scaly patches, crusts or sores on the top layer of the skin, and many people do not recognize, or ignore them. Because AK takes years to develop, the condition usually appears in older people -- although cases have been reported in people in their 40s and 50s. Because AK is a marker for sun damage, those that have AK are at risk for basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer, and melanoma the most deadly.
Awareness of the warning signs of AK is the key to early detection and prevention of skin cancers like basal cell carcinoma and melanoma. Experts recommend that people learn the warning signs of AK and have a skin cancer screening regularly.
The incidence of skin cancer in the United States is rising dramatically. According to the American Cancer Society, during 2004 there are expected to be over 7,910 deaths from melanoma and 1,000 to 2,000 deaths from non-melanoma skin cancers, including basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. However, if diagnosed in the early stages, all types of skin cancer are treatable and, in most cases, curable.
The screening event is made possible by an educational grant from 3M Pharmaceuticals. 3M Pharmaceuticals is partnering with dermatology residency programs nationwide to heighten public awareness of actinic keratosis and skin cancer.
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About Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center: Wake Forest Baptist is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences, which operates the university’s School of Medicine. The system comprises 1,282 acute care, psychiatric, rehabilitation and long-term care beds and is consistently ranked as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report.