Why it Makes Sense to Strip Down in May

By: Debbie Tuccillo, RN May 12, 2014 Category: Skin

Free Skin Cancer Screen Month May

FREE, FREE, FREE!! Who doesn’t like something for FREE?
Every May, the Academy of Dermatology sponsors a FREE skin cancer screening program across the United States. Because I spent the early part of my nursing career working in dermatology, I am addressing one of my passions in this blog…fighting skin cancer.

Every May, I am reminded by stories of those who had melanoma and survived, even close friends with whom I’m closest to. I’m reminded of the not-so-lucky mother of 5, who left this world too early to see her children grow and graduate from high school.

“Melanoma, Brown And Red Lesion 1″Photo by Larry Meyer, National Cancer Institute

In my dermatology work, I remember the patient I was doing an acne treatment on who had a large, dark mark under her eye. I pleaded with her to get it removed, and I’m glad she did. It turned out to be a melanoma.

In another case, I examined a young man who came in getting ready for spring break complaining about the acne on his back. When he took his shirt off, I spotted a very suspicious mole. When he returned, he had it removed and turned out to be a very aggressive form of melanoma. He got it in time.

I often think of these chance encounters as a “right place, at the right time” situation. Whether it’s divine intervention, fate—call it whatever you’d like, I’m always on the lookout. I’ll approach strangers and friends at public outings, vacations, anywhere! If I spot an atypical lesion out and about, or here at our office, I always encourage them to get it checked out right away.

Why it Makes Sense to Strip Down in May

According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer causes nearly 10,000 unnecessary deaths each year and is the most preventable and curable form of cancer, if detected early. Skin cancer doesn’t happen overnight, it takes months and even years to develop. But that FREE annual skin cancer screening by a dermatologist can save your life!

“Sunbathers on the beach in Manasquan, New Jersey” Photo By Nightscream, via Wikimedia Commons

I am NOT by any means telling you to stay out of the sun—a little can be good for you. BUT laying out in the sun, slathered in baby oil is out of the question!  Always wear sunscreen (a minimum of SPF 15).
Go for the glow with spray tanning, or do it yourself with self-tanning lotions or bronzers.

Bottom line…I implore you—get a skin cancer checkup! It’s FREE at a number of local facilities throughout the United States. Make sure your dermatologist looks you over from your scalp through your hair, personal areas, and between your toes. If you don’t have a dermatologist, those of us here at W Cosmetic Surgery are happy to refer you to one we trust. Enjoy your summer, the healthy way! ☺