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April 27, 1995

Free skin cancer screenings offered

Pitt medical center's dermatology department and the Pittsburgh Cancer Institute will offer two free skin cancer screenings from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on May 3 and May 10 on the fifth floor of Falk Clinic.

"The public needs to be aware that skin cancer is not a single disease. It includes melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer, both having different causes and predisposing factors. Not all skin cancers are caused by sun exposure and the misconception that all skin cancers are caused by the sun may be the reason many people do not seek medical care for some forms of the disease," said Arthur Rhodes, professor of dermatology and director of the pigmented lesion clinic.

Melanoma, a potentially deadly tumor, usually develops as a new or changing mole and can appear anywhere on the body, including sun-protected areas. If neglected, melanoma can spread to internal organs and cause death.

Non-melanoma skin cancers (basal cell cancers and squamous cell cancers), usually begin as an enlarging pink bump, a bump that bleeds and scabs, a warty growth, a sore that does not heal, or a persistent scaling red patch that does not respond to salves or ointments.

Though rarely life-threatening, non-melanoma skin cancers are usually caused by excessive sun exposure and can be avoided by protecting the skin from the sun.

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