Skin Check: More than 500 screened during NBC 10 event
More than 500 people were seen at NBC 10 Skin Check points during July and August.
Teresa Graceffa was one of them.
"We came out to have a fun day at the beach,” Graceffa said at Friday’s fifth and final Skin Check at Scarborough Beach North in Narragansett.
But that fun day at the beach took a slight turn after Graceffa came in for what she thought was a routine skin cancer screening.
"I went in and she asked if I had anything new or different and I said, ‘Yeah, you know, I do,’ and I showed it to her and she -- her eyes kind of opened and she said, ‘You need to have that checked and get it biopsied," Graceffa said.
It was potentially melanoma.
"It's the one that we worry about the most,” Dr. Kachiu Lee of University Dermatology, one of the on-site dermatologists, said. “So, melanoma is one that can spread from skin to the internal organs. It's gotten a lot of press lately because Jimmy Carter had a metastatic melanoma to his brain."
The idea behind Skin Check is to catch any skin cancer, in particular, melanoma, before it spreads. And so far, so good.
"Yesterday, I actually excised a melanoma from a patient that came just for one of the beach screenings,” Lee said. “She had seen the advertisement on television, had a spot that she was worried about, (and) just didn't have access to care."
And that's the problem. It's so hard to get in to a dermatologist. There's just not enough of them. That’s why the Skin Check points, held mainly at area beaches, have been critical.
"They found something that I'm going to go for a follow up for," another viewer, Peter Grenier, said.
While the free screenings are over for the summer, Lee said we should be doing our own skin checks once a month, as well as take other precautions.
"Definitely everyone should always be wearing SPF 30 or above even in the winter,” Lee said. “A lot of times I tell people just to get a moisturizer that has SPF in it, so it's already part of the routine."
Lee said it’s also important to remember the A, B, C, D, and Es of skin cancer.
They are as follows:
- A: Look for anything Asymetrical
- B: Be mindful of anything with irregular Borders
- C: Be aware of anything of Color, including spots with multiple colors or anything black, which is the most common color for a melanoma
- D: Take note of the Diameter. Anything larger than 6 millimeters or the size of a pencil eraser should be checked out
- E: Look for anything that is Evolving, that is something that just pops up out of nowhere or is growing
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