UC Dermatology to Conduct Free Skin Cancer Screenings

Most Americans still don't know about the warning signs of one of the most common types of skin cancer. Caused by cumulative sun exposure, actinic keratosis (AK) is very common -- affecting as many as 10 million Americans -- more than all skin cancers combined.  Residents from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center's Department of Dermatology will conduct a free skin cancer screening (on exposed parts of the body only) on Friday, Aug. 8 from 1-7 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 9 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. To be held at the Medical Arts building, Suite 5300, 222 Piedmont Avenue, the screening event will also offer visitors free educational information about AKs and skin cancer. 

AK appears as rough, red, scaly patches, crusts or sores on the top layer of the skin, and many people do not recognize, or are ignoring them.  Left untreated, AK may progress to squamous cell carcinoma, the second leading cause of skin cancer deaths in the United States.  Because AK takes years to develop, the condition usually first appears in older people -- although cases have been reported in people in their 40s and 50s.

The incidence of skin cancer in the U.S. is rising dramatically.  According to the American Cancer Society, during 2003 there will be over 7,600 deaths from melanoma and 2,200 deaths from non-melanoma skin cancers, including basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas.  However, if caught and treated in the early stages, all skin cancer has a 95 percent cure rate.

The screening event is made possible by an educational grant from 3M Pharmaceuticals.  3M Pharmaceuticals is partnering with dermatology residency programs nationwide to heighten public awareness of actinic keratosis and skin cancer. 

3M Pharmaceuticals, a division of 3M Health Care, develops, manufactures and sells branded prescription drug products related to dermatology and other medical specialties.  3M is currently developing a portfolio of products based on its immune response modifier (IRM) technology, which works by stimulating the immune system to recognize and respond to virus infections and tumors in the skin.

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