Skin cancer screenings, awareness event planned by UPMC St. Margaret
Dermatologist Laura Ferris would love for people to strip down to their birthday suits at least four times a year to give themselves a once-over.
“People should be looking at their own skin,” said Ferris, a UPMC St. Margaret physician and associate professor of dermatology at the University of Pittsburgh.
The practice is crucial for preventing skin cancer and in particular, melanoma, the most deadly form of the disease, she said.
With many people looking forward to sunshine this time of year, Ferris and other physicians are reminding the public that skin cancer is the most common of all cancers and affects one in every five people.
UPMC St. Margaret and the St. Margaret Foundation will host a free skin-cancer-awareness event from 6 to 7:30 p.m. today, Thursday, at the hospital's Neil Y. Van Horn Pavilion, 815 Freeport Road, near Aspinwall.
Free screenings will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. June 19 at the UPMC St. Margaret Dermatology office at 1 Alexander Center, 2585 Freeport Road, Harmarville.
“Summer is coming, and we want our neighbors in the community to have as much information as possible to identify, prevent and treat this common, yet curable, cancer,” said Mary Lee Gannon, foundation president.
Skin cancer affects about 2.2 million people each year, according to the American Cancer Society. Melanoma, while less common, is the most deadly form. It affects 76,000 people a year.
“The good news is that, unlike other cancers, patients can find it themselves early and in the most curable stage,” Ferris said.
She hopes to give participants the tools to perform thorough self-exams, a practice that's as easy as A-B-C-D-E, she said.
Ferris suggests that once every three months, people check themselves from head to toe, front and back. Look for moles that are Asymmetrical, with Borders that are irregular, that are a different Color than other moles, with a Diameter bigger than a pencil eraser or that are Evolving.
“Look for the ugly duckling, the one that doesn't look like the others,” she said. “A patient that is diligent can find a problem and seek attention early.”
Ferris reminded people to check areas that aren't necessarily exposed to sun, such as under the arms or in between the toes.
Speakers at the awareness event will discuss the most common types of skin cancer, prevention and treatment options. To lower skin cancer risks, the federal Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta recommends wearing clothing that covers arms and legs, wearing wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses, using a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher and avoiding indoor tanning.
With melanoma numbers on the rise in recent years, Ferris said, she is encouraged by the sharper focus on health and wellness particularly among women younger than 40.
“It seems to be something that more people are paying attention to and that has a potential to save lives,” she said. “The most important thing is for patients to check their own skin.
“We are always preaching that because we know how effective it is.”
To reserve a spot for the event, call 412-784-4022. Parking is free.
To schedule an appointment for a free skin screening on June 19, call 412-784-5534, and leave a name and phone number for hospital staff to return the call.
Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Aspinwall seeks new trash collection deal
- Tax rate stays put in O’Hara
- O’Hara woman pens book; tells story of more than 30 years teaching
- Providing officials tablet computers could benefit Aspinwall
- Route 910 reopening eases Indiana Twp. traffic issues
- Indiana Twp. OK’s budget; tax rate holds
- Aspinwall officer leads local police effort to collect presents for ill children
- Retired lieutenant colonel excited to be home in Indiana Twp. for holidays
- Chabad Fox Chapel to close out Hanukkah with Fun Fest event
- Fox Chapel Area children shine in Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s ‘The Nutcracker’
- O’Hara sewage pump station funding approved