U physicians hold free skin cancer screenings

The screenings were part of the center’s annual Melanoma Monday event.

by Raghav Mehta

University of Minnesota physicians from the Dermatologic Surgery and Laser Center offered free skin cancer screenings and advice for patients as a part of their annual Melanoma Monday event. Screenings took place until 3 p.m. on the fourth floor of Phillips Wangensteen Building and required no appointment. Sponsored by the American Academy of Dermatology, the event drew hundreds of people with both casual and more serious concerns. âÄúItâÄôs a mix. Some people have moles that theyâÄôve known about for a while and are worried about,âÄù said University physician Daniel Kaplan, who helped conduct the screenings. But Kaplan added that others who were less alarmed just wanted to stop in for assurance. âÄú[They] just want to be sure they havenâÄôt missed something,âÄù Kaplan said. Kaplan explained how people can benefit from these screenings in a variety of ways. âÄúSkin cancer, when detected early, is eminently treatable, but if itâÄôs ignored and allowed to progress, itâÄôs quite serious,âÄù Kaplan said. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, where more than 1 million cases of skin cancer are reported each year, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Seventy-five percent of skin cancer-related deaths stem from melanoma. More than 11,000 Americans die from skin cancer each year, but the disease has a 99 percent cure rate if detected early on. âÄú[The event] also gives us an opportunity to educate people on how to recognize skin cancer,âÄù Kaplan said. While key causes of skin cancer include hereditary history and usage of tanning devices, Kaplan said ultraviolet light exposure is the primary risk factor. Woodbury residents Mike and Gail Ahrens said theyâÄôve been attending the event for about three years now. âÄúItâÄôs nice to have a year in advance notice,âÄù Mike Ahrens said. âÄú[We] wouldnâÄôt have had anyone do this if we hadnâÄôt heard about it. Our doctor never would have brought it up.âÄù Robert McDonough said he was very satisfied with the clinicâÄôs service. âÄúIt was excellent. The wait was short,âÄù McDonough said. This year marks the 16th time the University has participated in the event and the AADâÄôs 26th year of sponsorship. Approximately 2 million free screenings across the country are conducted through the AAD.