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April 14, 2017

Free Skin Cancer Screening Clinic at Cooley Dickinson Hospital

April 14, 2017

NORTHAMPTON – In recognition of National Skin Cancer Awareness Month, local dermatologist Richard Wyatt and physician’s assistant Mike Brown will provide skin assessments and prevention education at Cooley Dickinson’s free skin cancer screening clinic on Monday, May 8, from 5:30–7:30 pm at Cooley Dickinson Hospital.

The event is free but registration is required; space is limited. The screening location will be provided at registration. For more information and to register, call 888-554-4234. Those who are uninsured or underinsured are encouraged to attend this free screening.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), incidence of skin cancer grew significantly in white men and women between 2003 and 2012, the latest years for which data are available. Nearly 5 million people are treated for skin cancer each year in the United States. UV rays from sunlight are the greatest during the late spring and early summer in North America, with the greatest exposure occurring between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM. Teens and young adults are at particular risk as they exhibit the lowest rates of preventative behaviors.

Skin cancer can be serious, expensive, and sometimes even deadly, but fortunately, most skin cancers can be prevented. Common risk factors include unprotected and/or excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation; fair complexion; family history; occupational exposures to coal tar, pitch, creosote, arsenic compounds, or radium; multiple or atypical moles or severe sunburns as a child.

The free screening is a cooperative effort between the Mass General Cancer Center at Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Amherst’s Pioneer Valley Dermatology and the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), a national organization promoting leadership in dermatology and excellence in patient care through education, research and advocacy.


2 thoughts on “Free Skin Cancer Screening Clinic at Cooley Dickinson Hospital

  1. In just a few hours after the free skin cancer screening (May 8) appeared in the Daily Hampshire Gazette, all of the slots were filled and there was a long waiting list. Clearly there is a substantial need for this service and I think (urge!) CDH to have at least 4 of these screenings each year. I definitely need one and am anxiously awaiting hearing about the next one – hopefully you’re planning one this fall!!!!

    1. Hi Barbara,

      Unfortunately, we do not have any current plans to add more free skin screenings for the community. We’ve found that while it is very popular and a lot of people participate in the event, very few have no insurance and thus do not need the event to be free (it was originally conceived as a resource for people with no health coverage). This is a screening that any dermatologist or even a primary care provider will do for their patients, so there is no need for a patient to wait for this particular event to get screened. The event has a long history, so we will continue to hold our one annual screening, but it used to be much more critical when not everyone had health insurance (we’re fortunate that Massachusetts is a place where most now do). If you have any personal concerns and are covered by some form of insurance (or have the ability to self-pay) you may want to just make an appointment with your primary care provider and/or a dermatologist that they can refer you to.

      You can also use this link to the American Cancer Society’s Skin Cancer Prevention and Early Detection page, which gives good guidance on self-exams and has a link to additional resources including several organizations that might be able to point you toward another free screening in the area.

      Hope this helps!

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