U dermatologists offer free skin screenings

Skin cancer rates have doubled since 1988.

Now that high temperatures and sunshine have reached the Twin Cities at last, University of Minnesota dermatologists are reminding people to protect their skin.

The University’s Department of Dermatology offered free skin can screenings Monday.

On the first Monday of May every year, the American Academy of Dermatology sponsors Melanoma Monday, an event to raise awareness of skin cancer and encourage regular skin examinations.

Melanoma rates in Minnesota have doubled since 1988, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer.  

The dermatology department saw a mix of University students and employees who came in for specific spot or general screenings Monday, said Sarah Schram, an assistant professor in the dermatology department.

“It’s been a nice representation of the people that we have on campus,” Schram said.

After screening patients, dermatologists made recommendations for follow-ups or biopsies depending on their findings, she said.

Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for 25- to 29-year-olds  and the second most common cancer for 15- to 25-year-olds, according to a National Cancer Institute study.

Since Melanoma is a risk factor among college-aged students, Schram said it’s a good time for University students to consider routine skin cancer screenings.

Now that the weather is finally warming up, University dermatologists are also reminding people to use sunscreen, seek shade whenever possible and to avoid direct tanning.

Schram said avoiding those things can reduce the risk of skin cancer, as well as less wrinkles and sunspots when people reach their 30s and 40s.

“We want everyone to enjoy the short summer we have in Minneapolis,” Schram said. “But we want them to do that in a smart manner.”