Hampton Roads residents at greater risk for skin cancer

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — One of the perks of living in Hampton Roads — the beach — may also be one of its pitfalls.

Melanoma, the most serious kind of skin cancer, occurs more frequently in Hampton Roads than in other parts of the country. That’s why during Skin Cancer Awareness Month, doctors at Eastern Virginia Medical School are urging residents to get screened.

EVMS Dermatology Chair Dr. Abby Van Voorhees told WAVY.com one in five people will develop skin cancer during his or her lifetime. The good news is that if it’s caught early, the cure rate is 98 percent.

“We start seeing it more in people 50 and over,” she said. “That doesn’t mean we don’t see it in people in their 20s and 30s, unfortunately.”

The goal is to prevent the cancer from forming. Dr. Van Voorhees recommends using sunscreen — and a lot of it. One ounce, the amount in a shot glass, is needed to cover just your face Dr. Van Voohrees says. You must also reapply it every two hours or wear clothing with UVA  protection and check your skin once a month.

“Things that are changing, getting larger, new lesions, bleeding. All of that could be a sign of something and probably, you ought to seek some care,” Dr. Van Voohrees said.

Also, moles bigger than a pencil eraser that have a variation in color and a jagged or irregular shape should be cause for concern.

You can get a quick and free skin cancer screening this Thursday, May 11, at EVMS’ Dermatology Sentara Princess Anne location,  from 5 to 7 p.m. You can walk in or make an appointment by calling 1-800-SENTARA.