Hospital offers free skin cancer screenings

Griffin Hospital is raising skin cancer awareness and helping protect individuals with free skin cancer screenings this month.

The screenings will be held on Tuesday, July 15, and Tuesday, July 29, from 4-7 p.m. at the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital, 350 Seymour Avenue, Derby. An additional screening is planned for Aug. 12. To reserve a screening appointment, call 203-732-1280.

According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. It accounts for nearly half of all cancers in the United States with more than 3.5 million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancer diagnoses each year. Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, will account for more than 76,100 cases of skin cancer in 2014.

Risk factors

Risk factors for non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancers include:

• Unprotected and/or excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation (sunlight or tanning booths)

• Pale skin (easily sunburned).

• Occupational exposures to coal tar, pitch, creosote, arsenic compounds or radium.

• You or other members of your family have had skin cancers.

• Multiple or unusual moles.

• Severe sunburns in the past.

Early detection

Skin cancer can be found and treated early by looking for these symptoms:

• Any change on your skin, especially in the size or color of a mole, growth, or spot or a new growth (even if it has no color).

• Scaliness, oozing, bleeding or a change in the way a bump or nodule looks.

• The spread of pigmentation (color) beyond its border, such as dark coloring that spreads past the edge of a mole or mark.

• A change in sensation, such as itchiness, tenderness or pain.

Some symptoms are not as noticeable, so skin cancer screenings are advised. If you have any of these symptoms, call you doctor immediately or visit to find a local dermatologist.