Local physician: Be aware of skin cancer risk

Apr. 30—ANDERSON — Summer is a time to get outside but with caution as sun exposure could lead to the development of skin cancer.

Skin cancer is the overproduction of skin cells leading to abnormal growths, according to Dr. Jennifer Fisher, a radiation oncologist for Community Hospital Anderson.

The most common factor, she said, is sun exposure, but it's not the only risk factor.

Skin cancers like Melanoma sometimes have a genetic component.

Fisher said the sun exposure damages skin, prompting the body's repair system to activate, which sometimes malfunctions resulting in cancer.

She recommended checking any moles for abnormalities. Such abnormalities can be remembered as ABCD, which stand for asymmetry, border, color and diameter.

Folks should be concerned if there are rough edges, a poorly defined border, discoloration and larger than pencil eraser, Fisher said.

If caught early, most skin cancers are easily curable, according to Fisher.

Community Hospital Anderson will host free skin cancer screenings on Tuesday from 4 to 6 p.m. at Community Health Network MD Anderson Cancer Center. Appointments can be scheduled online at eCommunity.com.

Though curable, skin cancer can be deadly, Fisher said, which is why early detection and prevention are important.

Prevention consists of wearing sun protective clothing and sunscreen when going out in the sun. Fisher recommended sunscreen of at least 15 Sun Protection Factor, and 30 for those at a higher risk.

Sun Protection Factor is a measure of the amount of solar energy required to produce a sunburn on unprotected skin; higher SPFs mean more protection, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Follow Caleb Amick on Twitter @AmickCaleb. Contact him at caleb.amick@heraldbulletin.com or 765-648-4254.