SEPT. 22, 2004 | More than 250 people received free skin cancer screenings recently at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), raising public awareness and identifying potential problems that otherwise may have gone unnoticed.
Doctors conducting the screenings said some patients left with recommendations to schedule a biopsy on a particular area that looked troublesome. In past screening days, there have been cases of skin cancer identified as well as patient concerns about a specific spot put to rest.
“These screenings give us the opportunity to serve our community, an important part of UAMS’ mission,” said James Suen, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery in the College of Medicine and the director of the Arkansas Cancer Research Center. “In addition, we can raise awareness of a common, serious medical issue.”
Daniel Davis, M.D., assistant professor in the Departments of Dermatology, Otolaryngology and Pathology in the College of Medicine and skin cancer surgeon, noted more than half of cancers diagnosed in the United States are skin cancer and roughly 10,000 people die of skin cancer annually. Of the 10 most common cancers, the only one that is increasing in incidence is melanoma – the most dangerous form of skin cancer.
“The free screenings allow many people without health care access to be seen and given detailed diagnosis of specific lesions,” Davis said. “Most skin cancers can be easily excised if caught early.”
Stephany Boyd of Little Rock was one of those who had a screening. She said she had had some pre-cancer issues before and saw ads about the free screenings. “I knew this would be a good time to have things checked out,” she said, adding after the screening that she was relieved with the report.
The Departments of Dermatology and at UAMS hosted the screenings at the Arkansas Cancer Research Center on the UAMS campus in Little Rock. The event was co-sponsored by Bene Vita, Loca Luna Restaurant and Consolidated Arkansas Restaurant Industries as well as supported by 3M, which provided a grant to dermatology residents for participating in the program.