Rapides Regional Medical Center will host a free skin cancer screening event on Thursday, May 4.

The SPOTme™ event is promoted by the American Academy of Dermatology and occurs in various locations through the United States during the first week of May.

“Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer and everyone is at risk, even those with darker skin colors,” said Elizabeth Long, M.D., an Alexandria dermatologist. “While skin cancer is highly treatable when caught early, it can be deadly. That’s why free screenings like this one are so important.”

Though the screenings are free, registration is encouraged, as there are limited screening appointments available. Participants can register online at rapidesregional.com (Health Education/Calendar of Events). Screenings will be held in the Day Surgery department at Rapides Regional Medical Center. Participants can park in either the Medical Plaza parking lot or in the Heart Center parking garage on Monroe St.

Patients will leave the screening with a report they can send to their physician and a list of area physicians in case a follow-up visit is required.

“Unlike other cancers, skin cancer can be detected by a dermatologist during a visual exam of your skin,” said Stephan Maguire, M.D., plastic surgeon. “A skin cancer screening only takes a few minutes and it could save your life.”

Look for more information about skin cancer, sunscreen and self-screening on the Rapides Regional Medical Center Facebook page.

Did you know?

  • Skin cancer is on the rise in the United States.
  • There are many ways to protect your skin from harmful UV radiation, including seeking shade when you can, wearing protective clothing, generously applying sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher), and avoiding intentional tanning or burning.
  • Use the UV Index forecast to help protect yourself from harmful UV exposure. (A higher UV Index on a scale from 1 to 11+ means more skin-damaging UV radiation is reaching the earth.)
  • Limit the amount of time spent in direct sun when the sun’s rays are most intense, generally from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Wear protective clothing when out in the sun, including long sleeves; sunglasses; and a hat that shades the face, neck, and ears.
  • Wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 15 or higher on all skin that isn’t covered.
  • Protect skin even on cool or cloudy days.