Westport Weston Health District offfers free skin cancer screenings

The Westport Weston Health District (WWHD), Robin Oshman, M.D. of Westport, and the American Academy of Dermatology are teaming up to celebrate National Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention month by providing full body skin cancer screenings on Sunday, May 6, from 9 to 11 a.m., at the health district, 180 Bayberry Lane, Westport.

Screenings are free and open to adolescents and adults of all ages who are not regularly screened by their own dermatologist or physician. No appointment is necessary.

All participants at the health district by 11 will be screened.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, skin cancer is the most common and most preventable cancer. More than two million cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year.

Current estimates are that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.

The most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma that typically do not cause serious health affects and can be removed through minor surgery.

Melanoma, the most serious skin cancer, continues to rise in incidence, and will account for 75,000 cases in 2012. Melanoma is now the second most common cancer in women aged 20 to 29.

In the U.S. alone, approximately one person dies from melanoma per hour. However, with early detection and proper treatment, melanoma has a high cure rate.

Safe sun habits

Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays appears to be the most important environmental factor in developing skin cancer. Building safe sun habits into your daily routine to decrease your risk is easier than you think. Simple and effective protection practices are:

  • Avoid being in the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s ultraviolet rays are the strongest.
  • Apply full spectrum (UVA and UVB) sunscreen, SPF of 15 or greater, to skin 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors. Reapply sunscreen after swimming, perspiring heavily, or drying skin with a towel.
  • Wear wide-brimmed hats and long-sleeved shirts with long pants whenever possible.
  • Wear sunglasses that block 99% of UVA and UVB radiation.
  • Avoid tanning at tanning salons, which can increase your risk of skin cancer.

The Health District encourages anyone who has never been screened for skin cancer to take advantage of this free screening. Individuals will be referred for further medical attention if needed.

For more information contact Monica Wheeler at 203-227-9571, ext. 242, or visit the health district’s website at wwhd.org.

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