One in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70, making it is the most common cancer in the U.S. To help raise awareness of protecting and preventing skin cancer, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center’s (LRMC) Dermatology Clinic provided free skin cancer screenings for 240 DOD civilians, retirees, and dependents during the first week of May as part of Skin Cancer Awareness Month.
While the clinic regularly screens and treats Service Members, DOD civilians, retirees and family members often rely on space-available care for the clinic, making early detection complicated.
“These patients typically have the highest skin cancer burden in our community and need to be seen by a dermatologist,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Shannon Buck, officer in charge at the LRMC Dermatology Clinic. “Getting in to see a dermatologist at the MTF or on the economy can be challenging due to access. We want to reach as many patients as possible.”
Judy Srey, a military spouse who said her family has a history of the skin cancer melanoma, participated in the screenings. She said that everyone should have these medical resources to help identify potential warning signs.
“This is a great opportunity for people who have concerns and don’t have access to a provider here in Germany,” she said. “My family has had melanoma in the past, and I want to make sure that I don’t have to go through the treatment they did.”
During the screenings, LRMC dermatologists discussed the proper use of sunscreen, sun avoidance, skin cancer types, and how to conduct checks at home. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends the use of broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, even on cloudy days. It also encourages wearing clothing to cover skin exposed to the sun, such as long-sleeve shirts, pants, sunglasses, and broad-brim hats. If you can, limit your time in the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s rays are the most intense.
The LRMC Dermatology Clinic provides care to diagnose and treat all forms of inflammatory and neoplastic conditions of the skin, hair, and nails. The clinic provides consultative services to the U.S. European Command area.
“LRMC’s goal is to provide high-quality, compassionate, and safe patient care,” Buck said. “This not only applies to our active-duty population, but also to civilians, retirees, and dependents. If those individuals’ medical needs aren’t taken care of, then the mission and readiness can suffer.”
Understanding Skin Cancer Risks
- Unprotected skin can be damaged by the sun’s UV rays in as little as 15 minutes.
- Even if the weather is cool and cloudy, you still need protection. UV rays, not the temperature, do the damage.
- Anyone can get skin cancer, but certain behaviors put you at higher risks.
- The most common signs of skin cancer are changes on your skin, such as a new growth, a sore that doesn’t heal, or a change in a mole. Check your skin regularly for changes and consult with a dermatologist to address any concerns.
For more information on staying safe from sun exposure, visit fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/tips-stay-safe-sun-sunscreen-sunglasses.
Learn more about the LRMC Dermatology Clinic at Landstuhl.tricare.mil/Health-Services/Specialty-Care/Dermatology.