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Drexel Dermatologists Find Concern About Skin Cancer Runs High During Free Screenings

May 22, 2009

Drexel Dermatology opened its doors Thursday to members of the Philadelphia and Drexel communities to provide free skin cancer screenings, educational materials and sunblock. Dozens showed up for the examinations, which are part of an annual effort to promote skin cancer awareness. 

Fortunately, most patients examined were free of skin cancer, said Dr. Mark Abdelmalek, chief of the Division of Laser and Dermatologic Surgery and assistant professor of dermatology. However, several skin cancers, pre-cancerous lesions and abnormal moles were detected during the day-long event.These patients highlight the importance of early detection and the need for an annual skin examination by a dermatologist, Abdelmalek said.

Included in the group screened was the sister of a 34-year-old man diagnosed with late-stage melanoma who was found to have two lesions on her back, and a fair-skinned woman who recalled her teenage years spent basking at the shore as she was checked out by doctors.

More than one million people will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year, and almost every hour someone in this country dies from melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer. Skin cancer can be serious but, when detected and treated early, is nearly 100 percent curable.

Drexel's screenings coincided with National Skin Cancer Awareness Month and the release of a new study that found while a majority of Americans use sunscreen, most use it only occasionally or improperly. For the best protection, experts recommend applying a shot-glass full of sunscreen daily and throwing out sunscreen that's past its expiration date.

If you missed today’s skin cancer screening and would like a full skin examination by one of our dermatologists, please call 215-762-5550 for an appointment.