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Did you know that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70?¹ Summer is over and it’s time to check out your skin. In fact, you should regularly be taking a look at it and making note (and even taking pictures) of anything that may be concerning. When detected early, the five-year survival rate of skin cancer is 99%.¹ Healthy New Albany is excited to be offering free skin checks with Dr. Susan Massick of OSU Dermatology yet again this year on October 6th from 6-7:30 pm. 

Dr. Massick has graciously answered some questions for us about what she looks for and more.

Question: What do you look for during a skin check and what should we be looking for at home?

Dr. Massick: “I am looking for any interesting skin lesions, suspicious appearing moles, degree of sun damage, along with your skin type, any underlying skin irritation, and overall health of your skin. When looking at moles, think about the ABCDE’s: 

  • Asymmetry: does a mole look uniform in shape?
  • Border: notched or irregular borders
  • Color: change in color, including both a lightening and darkening of a mole
  • Diameter: size > 0.5 cm for example, or increase in size
  • Evolution: any clinical changes or symptoms that you have noticed

Other characteristics to look for: a skin lesion that does not heal, bleeds easily, is persistently sore or tender, fast growing, peels but then recurs. These patterns can be indicative or precancerous lesions or early skin cancers. Some skin cancers can look like red, scaly patches, often mistaken for dry skin or eczema. If it is not resolving after a few weeks, then get it checked.”

Question: What should we do if we find something that looks off?

Dr. Massick: “Do not hesitate to get something checked, not only for reassurance and peace of mind, but also for early detection and early intervention if the need arises. Make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist. It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to skin concerns. Skin cancers are highly curative if caught early and treated appropriately, with many interventions performed right in the office.”

Question: What are some tips for protecting your skin?

Dr. Massick: “Be Sk-INTELLIGENT! Protect your skin with sun avoidance or sun protection as much as you can. There’s no such thing as a “safe tan.” Don’t believe the myth of a base tan before prom or vacation. Start teaching your kids early about sun protection: hats, shade, rash guard protective clothing, and sunblock. Avoid those childhood sunburns.Follow the advice you give your kids: apply and then reapply sunscreen after 2-3 hours.”

If you aren’t able to make it to the Healthy New Albany/OSU Dermatology free skin checks this time, make sure to make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist. We typically offer these free skin checks once per year in the fall. If you have any questions about them you can email programs@healthynewalbany.org.

  1. Skin cancer facts & statistics. The Skin Cancer Foundation. (2021, August 10). Retrieved September 30, 2021, from https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/skin-cancer-facts/.