Mountain View Voice

News - June 11, 2010

El Camino offers free skin cancer screenings

by Nick Veronin

Summer is here, with its warm nights, days spent at the beach or by the pool, and sunburns, the leading cause of skin cancer.

About 90 percent of skin cancer is caused by exposure to the sun, according to El Camino Hospital. Its Cancer Center is gearing up for its fourth annual free skin cancer screening on Saturday, June 12. The event aims to raise skin cancer awareness, said Judy Twitchell, a spokeswoman for the hospital.

"It's good to know about what you can do to take charge of your skin health," Twitchell said. "We want people to know how to lower their risk of getting skin cancer."

There are 500 available slots for a one-on-one session with a member of El Camino Hospital's cancer screening staff. Staff will examine questionable blemishes and make recommendations for subsequent visits to a dermatologist, if necessary.

Twitchell said that while skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, it is the most easily treated, and if caught early, is often curable.

"Anyone who has had sun exposure, who hasn't been checked for skin cancer by a dermatologist recently, who may be worried about a suspicious spot on his or her skin" should consider coming to the screening, Twitchell said.

Anyone who regularly uses tanning beds should consider signing up, Twitchell said. The screening is open to anyone 18 or older and will be held at El Camino Hospital's Cancer Center, 2490 Hospital Drive, Mountain View.

The New York Times recently reported on a study that found people who use tanning beds are almost twice as likely to develop melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Regular tanning bed users — those who logged 50 hours in the past 10 years — were 2.5 times as likely to develop melanoma, according to the study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. In the wake of the study, the Food and Drug Administration is considering modifying the rules regulating tanning beds.

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