Northwestern Medicine

Northwestern Medicine to Provide Free Skin Cancer Screenings this Spring

Northwestern Memorial Hospital April 20, 2015

Northwestern Medicine dermatologists plan free screening events in Chicago and Lake Forest

CHICAGO, IL – Spring has finally arrived in the Chicago area, bringing warmer temperatures and increased sun exposure with less protective clothing for many, which is the number one risk factor for skin cancer on average. But this spring, there is a healthy reason to show off your skin. Dermatologists at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital will be providing free skin cancer screening appointments for the public during their annual free screening events. Northwestern Medicine Memorial’s event will take place on April 29, 2015, and Lake Forest Hospital’s event will be held on May 19, 2015.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in America and affects all skin types. It is estimated that roughly one in five Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime, including its deadliest form melanoma.

“The best way to detect skin cancer in its earliest, most treatable stage is to regularly check your skin to see if you have a new spot or growth, a change in a mole or if you develop a sore that won’t heal,” said Mary C. Martini, MD, director of the Pigmented Lesion and Melanoma Clinic for Northwestern Medicine and the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. “But even regular self-examination isn’t perfect and you can’t see all of your skin properly by yourself, which is why seeing a dermatologist for an annual checkup can be so important and save lives.”

Expert organizations like the CDC and the American Academy of Dermatologists recommend patients remember the "A-B-C-D-E’s of melanoma" when looking over a spot or mole:

  • “A” for asymmetrical, does it have an irregular shape or two parts that look very different?
  • “B” for border, is its border irregular, hard to describe or jagged?
  • “C” for color, is its color uneven, varying from one side to another?
  • “D” for diameter, is it larger than 6mm or larger than roughly the size of a pea?
  • “E” for evolving, has it changed during the past few weeks or months in color, size or shape?
If the answer to any of these letters is yes, then it is strongly recommended that a dermatologist be consulted as soon as possible.

“Having your skin examined thoroughly by a dermatologist is very important, even if you don’t have any immediate concerns,” added Northwestern Medicine dermatologist
Tina Venetos, MD. “There is more than one kind of skin cancer and there is even a wide variation in how specific forms appear, which is why an expert review by a trained healthcare professional is key.”

The free screening events this spring will be provided by appointment only, and patients are asked to register as early as possible to help assure they can reserve a time during the events.

Northwestern Medicine Memorial’s event will take place in the hospital’s Arkes Pavilion at 676 N. St. Clair in Chicago on April 29, 2015, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Registration can be done online here.

Lake Forest Hospital’s event will take place in its Hunter Family Center for Women’s Health at 660 N. Westmoreland road in Lake Forest, Ill, on May 19, 2015, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Registration for the Lake Forest event can be done over the phone by calling 847.535.7441.

To learn more about how to keep your skin safe and healthy, visit Northwestern Medical Group Dermatology or call 312.926.DOCS (3627).

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