Free skin cancer screening offered at dermatology center

The screenings detect cancers and abnormal moles.

The University of Minnesota Dermatologic Surgery and Laser Center gave free skin cancer screenings Monday at an event titled Melanoma Monday . Doctors checked suspicious moles and lesions for abnormalities and then referred patients to doctors near their homes or work locations. âÄúItâÄôs kind of hard, because you see someone come in and youâÄôre like âÄòthatâÄôs skin cancer, I know thatâÄôs skin cancerâÄô and you have to let it walk back out, you canâÄôt treat it,âÄù Theresa Ray , a resident physician, said. Patient Sabrina Ververbeke said she came in for the free screening as a preventative measure and she chose MondayâÄôs event because of how long it can take to see a doctor. MondayâÄôs appointments were on a walk-in basis. âÄúIâÄôm French, and when I see the time that you need to wait to see someone, IâÄôm amazed,âÄù she said. Though Ray said time was one of many reasons people came for a free screening, the most common factor was money. The most common medical concerns found at the free screening, according to Ray and Peter Lee, director of dermatologic surgery , were abnormal moles. But, by midday, they had also seen melanoma. âÄúWe see a smattering of different things,âÄù Lee said. âÄúCompared to our regular clinic, I would say that we probably find more melanomas at this type of clinic âĦ They get checked and unfortunately itâÄôs worse than they thought.âÄù Lee said people donâÄôt realize what an abnormal mole looks like. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation , skin cancer signs include asymmetry, border irregularity, uneven color, large diameter and evolving moles, such as ones that change in size, shape, color or elevation. Collectively, these signs are known as the ABCDEs of melanoma. âÄúPeople think itâÄôs the big raised ones that are the worrisome ones, but itâÄôs not,âÄù Lee said. âÄúItâÄôs actually the ones that are really dark and flat and different than other ones.âÄù Lee said the free screenings draw between 200 and 300 people each year. This is the 15th time the UniversityâÄôs department of dermatology offered the free screening, Lee said, and the 25th time the American Academy of Dermatology has sponsored the annual event. Other free clinics are also held around the Twin Cities.