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January 9, 1997

Skin cancer screenings offered

The dermatology department will provide free skin cancer screenings on Jan. 15 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on the fifth floor of Falk Clinic. No appointment is necessary.

Although exposure to the sun is the main cause of skin cancer, it is not the only cause, according to Arthur Rhodes, director of UPMC's pigment lesion clinic.

Skin cancer includes melanoma and non-melanoma cancer. Melanoma is a potentially deadly tumor that usually develops as a new or changing mole.

If neglected, melanoma can spread to internal organs and cause death. Individuals who have suffered from melanoma in the past are at particular risk for a reoccurrence. Other risk factors include family history and one or more unusual moles.

Non-melanoma cancer, such as basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer, usually is caused by excessive exposure to the sun and can be avoided by protecting the skin from the sun. Non-melanoma cancer is rarely life-threatening. It usually begins as an enlarging bump, a bump that bleeds and scabs, a warty growth or a sore that does not heal. People with a tendency to freckle and a relative inability to tan are most at risk for the disease.

Filed under: Feature,Volume 29 Issue 9

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