Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States; developing in the tissues of the skin and often caused by too much time in the sun or in tanning beds. Melanoma is cancer affecting the skin cells that make pigment and it is highly likely to spread to other areas of the body if left untreated.

University of Minnesota Physicians dermatologist and University of Minnesota assistant professor Ronda Farah, MD, FAAD recommends that people who have a family history of being at risk for melanoma, use or have used tanning beds, have had bad sunburns, or have met with their dermatologist or primary care provider should get regular skin checks. People who notice new or suspicious spots on their skin should also check with a dermatologist. Those who are unsure if they should get regular skin tests should talk to a dermatologist or primary care provider. 

Identifying Melanoma
When noticing skin spots, Dr. Farah tells people to remember the ABCDE’s: asymmetry, border, color, diameter, and evolving. Review the Medical School’s screening guide to check yourself for possible Melanoma.

The rates of melanoma have continued to rise over the last 30 years. The American Cancer Society estimates that over 96,000 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in 2019, and more than 7,000 people will die from this cancer.

Melanoma Monday Event

melanoma monday

As part of the American Academy of Dermatology’s observance of Melanoma Monday, May 6, University of Minnesota Health Maple Grove Clinic and University of Minnesota Health Clinics and Surgery Center offered the general public free skin cancer screenings on Monday to help reduce the prevalence of skin cancer in Minnesota. University of Minnesota Health dermatologists offered their services to provide walk-in patients with full-body screenings and spot-checks for suspicious lesions.

Providers and staff at the Maple Grove Clinics were able to provide 116 patients with free skin cancer screening exams. Resulting from those exams, providers found 22 cases of Actinic Keratoses (pre-cancer), 12 cases of Basal Cell Carcinoma, three cases of Squamous Cell Carcinoma, 11 cases of Dysplastic Nevi, and two suspected cases of Melanoma.

Dr. Farah and her dermatology expert colleagues Ian Maher, MD, UMPhysicians dermatologist and Medical School associate professor, and Adam Mattox, DO, UMPhysicians dermatologist and Medical School assistant professor, were happy to talk to patients at this event about the importance of screening, skin cancer prevalence, risk factors, treatments and prevention tips.

Sunscreen samples and literature about skin cancer were also provided.

Thank you to all providers and staff who helped make this a successful Melanoma Monday!