UAMS Offers Free Skin Cancer Screening

By todd

LITTLE ROCK – In observance of Melanoma Monday and National Skin Examination Day, a free skin cancer screening for the public will be offered from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, May 2, on the sixth floor of the Arkansas Cancer Research Center at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).


Parking will be available for a reduced fee in the Outpatient Center parking deck on the corner of Cedar Street and Capitol Avenue. To make an appointment, call (501) 296-1505, extension 1021. Visitors should expect a brief wait. The screening is courtesy of the UAMS Departments of Dermatology and Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.


Sponsored by the American Academy of Dermatology, Melanoma Monday focuses on raising public awareness about melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer. Melanoma is almost 100 percent curable if found early through regular screenings, yet more than 77 percent of all skin cancer deaths in the United States are from melanoma.


“People enjoy having a ‘healthy’ tan, but too often they don’t follow the simple guidelines to protect themselves from the unhealthy effects of the sun,” said Daniel Davis, M.D., a dermatologist at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He explained that melanoma originates in the pigment-producing cells of the skin, the ones affected by tanning, and can quickly spread to other areas of the body where it continues to grow and destroy tissue.


Melanoma often appears as a pre-existing mole that changes or as a new mole on previously unaffected or clear skin. Davis said knowing the “ABCs of Melanoma” and doing complete self-examinations of every inch of the body can help spot the disease early, which is very important for treating it:


A is for asymmetry, or spots that are not the same on both sides.

B is for a border of a mole that is irregular.

C is for color. If it’s different than other spots, it could be trouble.

D is for diameter. Pay special attention to any spot larger than a pencil eraser.

E is for elevation. Watch for the mole becoming a bump.

F stands for funny-looking. If a spot just doesn’t look right, it could be a sign of melanoma.


Risk factors include heredity, age and multiple moles or brown spots. The cancer can begin in or near the spot, so it’s important to check regularly for any change in appearance of moles. The most important cause, however, is sun exposure. People with as few as three blistering sunburns in a lifetime are at risk for developing melanoma.


UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, five centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has more than 2,200 students and 660 residents and is the state’s largest public employer with almost 9,000 employees. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $4.1 billion a year.


UAMS centers of excellence are the Arkansas Cancer Research Center, Harvey and Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy and Jackson T. Stephens Spine and Neurosciences Institute.