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A photo of a melanoma.

A "typical" melanoma lesion illustrating the irregularities in color, size and shape.

Melanoma Monday: free skin-cancer screening

From eNews, April 29, 2004

According to the American Cancer Society, some 55,000 new cases of melanoma--the deadliest form of skin cancer--will be diagnosed in 2004, and nearly 8,000 people are expected to die from it this year. On Monday, May 3, the U's Department of Dermatology will offer free skin-cancer screenings on the Twin Cities campus in Minneapolis. The annual Melanoma Monday event, organized by the American Academy of Dermatology, is designed to raise awareness of skin cancer and encourage regular skin examinations. This year, the University screening sites will be set up at the Dermatologic Surgery and Laser Center in the Phillips-Wangensteen Building (4th floor) from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the Riverside Clinic (University Orthopedics, room 102) at 2512 7th St. S. from 8 to 11 a.m. The screenings are open to the public and conducted on a first-come, first-served basis. Because of the popularity of this event, wait times may exceed an hour. "People don't think skin cancer is something that will happen to them," says University dermatology instructor Stephen Tan. "Cases of melanoma are on the rise, and people who are even the slightest bit concerned about anything unusual should come in. It's free, and it only takes a few minutes. At last year's screening, we identified at least 32 presumed skin cancers, including some melanomas." Melanoma, though potentially deadly, can be treated if caught early. It can appear anywhere on the body but is most common on areas most exposed to the sun, such as the back and shoulders for men and legs for women. Doctors advise to watch for moles that change in size, color, or shape. "An asymmetrical mole, a darkly pigmented mole, or one with an irregular border should raise a red flag," says Tan. "A mole does not have to be raised to be dangerous. In fact, the flat, dark lesions are often more atypical." For more information about Melanoma Monday, call 612-625-7925. To learn more about skin cancer and the risk factors, visit the University of Minnesota Cancer Center at www.cancer.umn.edu.

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