Upcoming skin cancer screenings

The bride-to-be’s grandmother chided her for the sunburn. A bride should not have a tan on her wedding day. In fact, it was better to avoid the sun altogether. Didn’t she, herself, wear a wide-brimmed hat when she worked in her flower beds? Back in the day it was to protect the skin from sun damage. And things have not changed all that much. We are just more cognizant of the fact that unprotected skin can develop cancers.

It might be a suspicious growth above an eyebrow, on your hand or arm, something you hadn’t noticed before. Maybe it’s a mole that has changed, something with an irregular border – that may just be a symptom of aging. Sometimes that innocent-looking freckle is more than just a freckle.

The Cancer Clinic at the Columbiana County Health Department (CCHD) will offer skin cancer screenings by appointment on Oct. 8. A physician will conduct the skin cancer screenings which are visual inspections of the skin, of any suspicious moles or lesions.

“Screening is looking for cancer before a person has any symptoms,” says the National Institutes of Health-National Institute of Cancer. “When abnormal tissue is found early, it may be easier to treat.”

If there is nothing abnormal, you will have peace of mind.

One in five Americans will have skin cancer in their lifetime, advises the American Academy of Dermatology. There are different types of skin cancer including actinic keratoses (AK), basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and melanoma. Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer, but there is a high cure rate when it is found and treated early, before it spreads.

The skin cancer screenings are at no cost to county residents within the general health district which is funded by the cancer clinic levy. Those clients who live outside the county or within the Salem or East Liverpool Health Districts will have a nominal $5 fee.

At the time of the screening, if the screening physician advises seeing a dermatologist, CCHD staff will sit down with the client to set up the referral. Staff will call the specialist to schedule the appointment while the client is with her. When the client leaves the clinic, he or she will have the name and address of the dermatologist, the date and time of the appointment and a copy of the physician’s notes regarding the suspicious spot which will be given to the dermatologist.

CCHD staff follows up with every client, keeping track of everyone until they transfer their care to their dermatologist. If nothing is found during the screening, the patient will be added to the schedule for a future screening, usually six to 12 months for a re-check.

Each client must be established with a doctor to whom results can be sent for the client’s personal medical records.

The cancer clinic’s skin cancer screening will help you determine if you need to see a specialist. It is recommended that clients check with health insurance providers to see if the dermatologist is within their health provider network.

The Columbiana County Health Department is located at 7360 State Route 45, Lisbon. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Appointments can be made by calling the health department at 330-424-0272, extension 114.


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