Skin Cancer: More Likely than All Other Cancers Combined
When Madison School District invited local health care providers to offer screenings at the upcoming Community Wellness Fair, Brett Bagley, PA-C and owner of Fall Creek Skin and Health, jumped at the chance. He wants people to understand that the survival rate for melanoma skin cancer is nearly 98 percent. He wants people to get screenings because screenings save lives.
Health care professionals didn’t understand skin cancer nearly as well back in 1979 when Randall Raschke thought nothing of the lesion next to his eye. Even when it grew large enough for him to feel every time he blinked, he wasn’t worried. Lacking modern technology and levels of training, Raschke’s dermatologist didn’t even feel the lesion needed to be studied further after he removed it in a standard procedure.
It wasn’t until a year later when other health issues began to arise that Raschke was diagnosed with basal cell nevus syndrome. The growth his doctor had removed was likely basal cell carcinoma, more commonly known as skin cancer.
Fortunately, in the nearly 40 years since Raschke’s diagnosis, knowledge about skin cancer, how to recognize it, and how to treat it has grown tremendously.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “Skin cancer is the uncontrollable growth of abnormal skin cells. It occurs when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) triggers mutations, or genetic defects, that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors.”
There are different types of skin cancer, such as basal cell carcinoma and melanoma. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, while melanoma accounts for a small fraction of overall skin cancer cases, it is the cause of the majority of deaths. In fact, approximately one person dies of melanoma every hour nationwide.
Like with many medical issues however, preventive measures can greatly decrease the risk for and increase the prognosis of patients. Self-examinations, explained further here, daily use of SPF 15+ sunscreen, and skin cancer screenings are three simple ways of minimizing risk. Join Brett Bagley on Friday, May 12, at the Madison Community Health and Wellness Fair at Madison Junior High School to take your first step toward prevention and early detection with a free skin cancer screening.
Organizational Communication and Advocacy major at BYU-Idaho