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Health Department Notes: Health Department Notes

Your first line of defense against skin cancer is prevention, but early detection can ensure that when skin cancer does strike you receive the best possible outcome from treatment. The best way to find skin cancer in its earliest, most treatable stage is by checking your skin regularly and having a dermatologist perform a full-body skin cancer screening.

Examine your skin on a regular basis for signs of skin cancer and consult a dermatologist if you notice anything suspicious. These simple steps can help ensure that skin cancer is diagnosed in its earliest, most treatable stage.

How to perform a self-exam:

• Examine your body front and back in the mirror, then look at the right and left sides with your arms raised.

• Bend elbows and look carefully at forearms, upper underarms and palms.

• Look at the backs of your legs and feet, the spaces between your toes, and the soles of your feet.

• Examine the back of your neck and scalp with a hand mirror. Part hair for a closer look.

• Finally, check your back and buttocks with a hand mirror.

What to look for, the ABCDEs:

Consult your dermatologist immediately if any of your moles or pigmented spots exhibit:

• Asymmetry - one half is unlike the other half.

• Border - an irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border.

• Color - is varied from one area to another; has shades of tan, brown or black; or is sometimes white, red or blue.

• Diameter - Melanomas usually are greater than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, but they can be smaller.

• Evolving - A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color.

A skin cancer screening is a visual examination of your skin. A screening does not take much of your time and it can save your life. That’s why the Woodford County Health Dept. partners with dermatologist Dr. Gerald Elliott to offer a free skin cancer screening to Woodford County residents. Screening will be held at the health department, 229 North Main St., on Thursday, May 17. To schedule an appointment, please call 873-4541.

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