Silver Cross Hospital

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It may not feel like it, but summer is just around the corner which means sunny days, warm breezes and more skin exposed when you’re outside. But adding sun screen with a higher sun protection factor (SPF) to your morning routine could help prevent the most widespread and common cancer out there today: skin cancer.

Silver Cross Hospital will host free skin cancer screenings Friday, May 17, at the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center at Silver Cross, 1850 Silver Cross Boulevard, New Lenox, IL, 60451. The screenings will be performed by dermatologist Dr. Frank Tobin.

What You Should Know About Skin Cancer?

According to the American Cancer Society, there are three main types of skin cancers. Of the several types of skin cancers there are, three of them strike the most frequently.  These include basal cell cancers, squamous cell cancers and melanomas. Basal and squamous cell cancers are commonly found in areas of the body that are exposed to the most sun, like the neck, head and arms but they can develop anywhere on the body.  Anything that looks like a new growth or bump, or sores that don’t seem to heal very quickly should be looked at by a dermatologist as soon as you can get in.  

Basal cell carcinomas usually have characteristics like a flat, firm, pale area, like a scar.  They can also be raised itchy red patches or small pink pearly bumps.  The squamous cell carcinomas can look like open sores that heal only to quickly come back and ooze or crust over.  They can also look like warts, or scaly red patches that might bleed.  Both cancers can develop as a flat area with only slight changes from normal skin, so your diligence in getting frequent screenings is so important.

Ultraviolet radiation is a major risk factor for most cancers of the skin and the sun is the main source of UV rays. People who live in areas with year-round, bright sunlight and those who work outside without protective clothing and sunscreen are at a higher risk of getting skin cancer. If you’re planning on spending significant time outside for the day, check the UV Index to see how strong the UV light is in your area. The higher the UV Index, the greater risk of exposure to UV Rays and sunburn you are. 

Though there are no set guidelines for the early detection of skin cancer, you know your skin best. The American Cancer Society recommends that you check your own skin once a month.  A skin exam is best done in a well-lit room and in front of a full-length mirror.  You may use a hand-held mirror to look at the hard-to-see areas like the backs of your thighs, scalp and back.

Reach out to your doctor or a dermatologist if you find anything suspicious and be sure to make an annual appointment with your primary doctor once a year and ask them to give you a “once over” while you’re in their office, too.

If your doctor is suspicious of a spot on your skin, they will most likely take note of the size, shape, color and texture of the area, as well as any other noteworthy characteristics like bleeding, oozing or crusting.  A skin biopsy is usually the next step, where they take a small sample from the area in question and look at it under a microscope. If a spot is found to be cancerous or pre-cancerous, your doctor will most likely take a more extensive biopsy or some type of small surgery. If the cancer is thought to be more widespread, like a melanoma, the doctor may order more testing like imaging tests, immunotherapy, chemotherapy or radiation. 

Need a Dermatologist?

If you need a dermatologist or would like to sign up for the free skin cancer screening, visit www.silvercross.org

Located at 1900 Silver Cross Blvd., New Lenox, IL 60451   Main Phone (815) 300-1100

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Physicians on Silver Cross Hospital’s Medical Staff have expertise in their areas of practice to meet the needs of patients seeking their care.  These physicians are independent practitioners on the Medical Staff and are not the agents or employees of Silver Cross Hospital. They treat patients based upon their independent medical judgment and they bill patients separately for their services.