Carroll County General Hospital will sponsor a free skin cancer screening tomorrow and Thursday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
If you are concerned about a blemish or mole, now is the time to have it checked by an expert.
You may register by calling 857-6935.
Screenings will be conducted by Dr. Marilyn Miller, Dr. James Vogel and Dr. Ronald Schuster, plastic surgeons, and Dr. Lawrence Feldman and Dr. Ronald Goldner, dermatologists.
One in seven Americans will develop skin cancer in a lifetime, more than 500,000 people this year alone, Dr. Miller says.
In this area, she says she's seen an increase in the number of skin cancer cases, especially among people in their 20s and 30s.
Recently, she treated an 11-year-old for the disease, the youngest patient she's seen, she says.
The major cause of skin cancer is exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays, which are most damaging between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Artificial sources of ultraviolet radiation, including sunlamps and tanning booths, also can cause skin cancer.
A genetic predisposition to cancer or a family history of the disease can increase the chance of developing a lesion.
Dr. Miller advises people to seek medical examinations as soon as possible for marks or moles that change or sores that don't heal.
Dr. Vogel says there are three types of skin cancer: Basal cell affects only the skin and is least serious. Squamous cell can also spread to internal organs, but generally acts very slowly.
The most dangerous type is melanoma, which can spread quickly to the lymph glands. It should be treated immediately.
Dr. Vogel suggests an "ABCD" method of assessing moles and skin spots. If they're asymmetrical, if the borders are notched or angular, if the color has changed or deepened, or if the diameter is greater than the size of a pencil eraser, the area should be examined by a physician.