Skin cancer is increasingly becoming an issue many will have to face in their lifetime.
Thompson Cancer Survival Center Community Health Coordinator Beth LaFontaine was at Faces of Tellico Medi Spa this past week for Skin Cancer Prevention Friday, giving people information about the alarming trend.
It was the first time Covenant Health had an event solely focused on skin cancer, LaFontaine said.
Skin Cancer Prevention Friday, shortened to SPF, is a play on words for sun protection factor, Fort Loudoun Medical Center Marketing Coordinator Ashley Hankla said.
"You should get yourself checked annually after age 40," LaFontaine said. "If there's any suspicious spots, obviously you want to get those checked out."
One in five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their lives, LaFontaine said.
Skin cancer is on the rise, she said. LaFontaine's booth, along with a booth from FLMC, was there to better inform residents about health concerns while they waited for free skin cancer screenings from the hospital's Dr. John Abadier. A booth for Lenoir City Chiropractic P.C. was also there.
Thirty-three people came for the free screenings, LaFontaine said. Eleanor Kish, a resident of Tellico Village for 13 years, said she went to get spots on her back checked. Having peace of mind is important, she said.
"Most of the stuff we see is usually fair-skinned people that have tanned very hard for many years," Abadier said. "You know, whether they sit on the pool or the beach, and they don't use any kind of precaution. Usually you see these people like 15, 20 years later, and you'll see tremendous damage to their skin. You don't see that as much anymore because a lot of these people are protecting themselves."
LaFontaine said the cure rate is high if caught early. A melanoma spot the size of a pencil eraser could kill you, she said.
"For some skin cancers, it's before they spread to other places," Abadier said. "Early for other skin cancers is before they get bigger. There are some cancers where they only enlarge, and they don't spread, and there are some cancers that will spread and you could die from. So early would be before they either get big or they spread."
Abadier suggested to wear a hat, put on sunscreen and avoid going outside for long periods of time. Also pay attention to the ultraviolet index to prevent being outside during the hottest times of the day, LaFontaine said. According to the American Cancer Society, limit sun exposure between 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Due to SPF's success, expect more screenings in the future, Hankla said.
For more information about screenings and othern services, visit the Thompson Cancer Survival Center website at http://www.thompsoncancer.com/
"Use sunscreen," LaFontaine said. "Stay out of tanning beds. Tanning beds are a huge reason why melanoma's on the rise. If you use a tanning bed one time before age 35 your risk of melanoma goes up 75 percent. That's pretty incredible. ... (Use) sunscreen, sunscreen. Did I say that enough?"