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May 16, 2006 > National Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month Promotes Awareness

National Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month Promotes Awareness

Local Community Hospital Offers Seminar and Skin Screening

National Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, recognized this month, is a great opportunity to get the facts about your skin's health from someone who knows skin.

On Tuesday, May 23, Washington Hospital will host "Healthy Skin & Treatment of Skin Disorders," a free Health & Wellness seminar and screening presented by Washington Hospital Medical staff dermatologist Dr. Sunil Dhawan.

First Dr. Dhawan will screen participants for any skin abnormalities and refer them to their primary care physician or dermatologist for a biopsy or treatment if he finds a problem.

"Dermatologists are trained to look for abnormal skin symptoms that could cause a problem," Dhawan says. "This is what we do pretty much all day. Initially, we address the problem the patient comes to us with. Then, we'll do a more comprehensive preventative exam."

If you visit the dermatologist for a specific problem but are worried that there might be additional problem areas, ask the doctor for a full exam, Dr. Dhawan recommends.

During Dr. Dhawan's seminar following the screening he will discuss the relationship between sun exposure and skin cancer, what types of symptoms to look for and treatments for skin cancer, as well as how to prevent it.

The most important aspect of skin health is prevention, according to Dr. Dhawan. He offers the following simple tips to help avoid skin cancer:


  • Avoid sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the sun is at its strongest.

  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat and protective clothing while outdoors.


Apply a sunscreen with SPF 30 or greater that provides both UVA and UVB protection.

While those with fair skin or a family history of skin cancer must be particularly careful to protect their skin, skin cancer is something everyone must be aware of - especially parents of young children because that is when the worst sun damage can occur, increasing the chances of skin cancer later in life.

According to a survey sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approximately 43 percent of white children under age 12 had at least one sunburn during the past year. Bad sunburns before the age of 18 have been attributed to development of skin cancer later in life.

"We're seeing younger people now in their 20s, 30s and 40s with skin cancer as a result of too much early sun exposure or a lack of knowledge of what they are supposed to do to prevent skin cancer," Dr. Dhawan says. "Some people know the dangers but refuse to acknowledge that it can happen to them."

Avoiding popular methods of tanning, including tanning booths and salons, as well as sunbathing, are on Dr. Dhawan's short list of how to avoid developing skin cancer and other skin health problems. "Base" tanning before a vacation, Dr. Dhawan says, just means more sun damage, which can lead to premature wrinkles, age spots and cancer.

Some cases of skin cancer, like malignant melanoma, can be fatal if left untreated. If you've noticed any changes in your skin, it's best to visit your dermatologist immediately for an examination.

"Early detection of skin cancer can help save you from potentially disfiguring surgery," Dr. Dhawan notes.

In addition to protecting against sun exposure, other ways to care for your skin include using a gentle cleanser, moisturizing regularly with a high quality moisturizer and avoiding excessive time in the shower or with soap, which can dry skin and causes rashes, according to Dr. Dhawan.

Get checked by a dermatologist!

The "Healthy Skin & Treatment of Skin Disorders" screening and seminar will be held Tuesday, May 23, in the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium located in Washington West, 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont across the street from the main hospital.

The screening will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. The seminar will follow from 6 to 7 p.m.

Call Washington Hospital's Health Connection line at (800) 963-7070 to register or for more details.
 
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