Each year, May brings flowers, warm weather and sunshine which makes it the perfect time for Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness month. This year the local office of Skin Cancer and Cosmetic Dermatology Centers teamed up with the Chattanooga Lookouts for the second “Lookout for Skin Cancer” promotion.
“The American Academy of Dermatology encourages its members to use the month of May to reach out to their communities with free screenings and awareness materials,” said Jason Nicholas, the office manager for the group.
“This was a natural fit for us as we looked for partners, the Lookouts are such a strong brand in our market and we have offices all throughout the Chattanooga region, including Cleveland, Kimball, Brainerd, Dalton, Calhoun, and Rome, so it seemed like a good place to make a community effort that would reach all of our markets ... What a better tag line than ‘Lookout’ when you are talking about something as dangerous as skin cancer. That is really how this idea was born.”
This is the second year that Skin Cancer and Cosmetic Dermatology Centers has teamed with the Lookouts for the event.
“In 2010, this was a one-day event where staff from all offices came out and passed out sunscreen and materials to about a thousand people,” Nicholas said.
“We had providers available for skin exams, but it was at the end of the awareness month so we wanted to expand the scope. In 2011, we did not have the event as the economy worsened and we were unable to secure any sunscreen samples. This year, we decided it was an important message with or without sunscreen, so we thought it might be more effective to sponsor the entire month.
“During each home game, the Lookouts have read facts about skin cancer and during each weekend home stretch we have handed out materials and made free screenings available. The Lookouts even donated some tickets for the local radio station to give away in conjunction with the awareness ads we have run this month. We have been able to reach tens of thousands this year with the message of awareness.”
Nicholas also encourages people to come out to the game today at 6:15 p.m. to learn a bit, get a screening and see some fireworks. We want people to understand the severity of skin cancer, particularly melanoma, he said.
“Early detection is the key. While instances of most other cancer types are decreasing, skin cancer instances continue to rise and while some people think they are not that big a deal, even the least aggressive types can eventually lead to death,” said Victor Czerkasij, nurse practitioner for the group.
“As we see more and more young people with skin cancer, it makes you stop to think how important it is that we get out the message of prevention and early detection.
“I encourage people to use the ABCDE guidelines for screening at home. Watch for lesions that are asymmetrical, have irregular borders, are multi-colored, have a diameter bigger than a pencil, or are evolving or changing. My experience also leads me to consider the ‘F’ factors as well. How does it feel? Is it itching, burning or numb? If you have lesions that meet these criteria, I would definitely follow up with a professional.”
If you have any questions, you are encouraged to follow up at www.thedermcenters.com or call the office at 423-472-3332.