Experts host local skin cancer screening, share prevention tips

| May 21, 2010 | 0 Comments

Kevin Cassel
Hawaii Skin Cancer Coalition

HONOLULU — One of the real joys in Hawaii is being outdoors on a beautiful, sunny day — but too much sun can be dangerous. 

So May 26, the Hawaii Skin Cancer Coalition will sponsor free skin cancer screenings at the Honolulu Farmers’ Market at the Neal Blaisdell Center, 4-6 p.m. 

The physician members of the Hawaii Dermatological Society will conduct these screenings at no cost, on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

This event will also feature a demonstration of the latest sun protection gear, prizes and an educational seminar with local experts on skin cancer from the University of Hawaii Cancer Research Center.

“Over 7,000 people each year in Hawaii learn they have skin cancer, and about 250 of these will be diagnosed with melanoma, the most severe type of skin cancer,” said Dr. Kevin Dawson, current president of the Hawaii Dermatological Society. 

Ironically, many of the same people who wouldn’t think twice of going to the beach or playing volleyball without three different kinds of sunscreen will spend hours in the sun without protecting their skin at other times. 

Overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation not only causes painful sunburns, but can lead to serious health problems including increased risk for skin cancer. 

“Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays appears to be the most important environmental factor in the development of skin cancer,” Dawson said. “Most skin cancers appear after age 50, but the sun’s damaging effects begin at an early age. 

“Therefore, protection should start in childhood and continue to prevent skin cancer later in life,” he said. “During the summer, with school being out and more children outdoors and near the water, parents really need to make sure their kids are protected.”

This screening event marks the 15th year the Hawaii Skin Cancer Coalition has held free skin cancer screenings in conjunction with the Hawaii Dermatological Society. 

The month of May is National Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month.

For more information on the signs and symptoms of skin cancer, call the American Cancer Society at 800-ACS-2345, or the National Cancer Institute at 800-4-CANCER.

Category: Community

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