Staff Partner, ACS Marco Island
The month of February is dedicated to National Cancer Prevention, and it was fitting that the American Cancer Society of Marco Island held their annual Imagination Ball on February 4th, which was World Cancer Day. On the topic of prevention, early detection and screening are among the top preventatives you may take. Last month’s column discussed how important this is to seeing cancer death rates continue to decrease, as they have by 25% between 1991 and 2014. Scheduling regular colonoscopies, mammograms, or a screening based on a cancer common in your family may allow you to detect cancer early, resulting in a higher chance of successful treatment.
Living in Florida subjects you to high sun exposure, and it is important to take notice of any changing or new spots on your body. Seeing a dermatologist early can potentially allow them to surgically remove the spot from your skin, without it spreading to other parts of your body.
Living in Florida subjects you to high sun exposure, and it is important to take notice of any changing or new spots on your body. Seeing a dermatologist early can potentially allow them to surgically remove the spot from your skin, without it spreading to other parts of your body. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, however, there are many things you may do to protect yourself from harmful rays; spending minimal time in direct sun, being sure to use sunscreen at all times while outdoors, and limiting or eliminating the use of indoor tanning beds and lamps. In 2013, approximately 4% of US adults, and 20% of female high school students reported using an indoor tanning device. Just remember to “Slip, Slop,Slap!” – slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, slap on a hat.
You may perform an at-home skin exam regularly by examining your body and taking note of where you have moles and freckles, then follow the ABCDE rule; A is for Asymmetry, B is for Border, C is for Color, D is for Diameter, E is for Evolving. If you notice irregularities in any of these categories regarding uneven shape, irregular edges, or changes in diameter, please seek medical attention to have a proper examination.
Other warning signs related to melanoma could be, a sore that does not heal, spreading of pigment from the border to surrounding skin, redness or new swelling around the spot’s border, spots that become itchy, tender, or painful, and mole’s that have become scaly, bleeding, or oozing. These are signs that something is not right, and you should seek medical treatment for a proper examination.
To read more information on prevention, please visit our website at www.cancer.org. You may also stop by our local Marco Island office Monday through Friday 9 AM – 5 PM. We offer informational pamphlets, and complimentary wigs. If you would like to speak to a cancer specialist, try our Patient Services 24/7 department at 1-800-227-2345.
This is an ongoing series of columns dedicated to informing the Marco Island community about the American Cancer Society, the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health concern by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service. The Marco Island American Cancer Society office is located at 583 Tallwood St., Suite 101 and is open daily from 9 AM-5 PM. For more information about volunteering or any of the events mentioned in this column please contact Sue Olszak or Lisa Honig at 239-642-8800 ext. 3890.