Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center Offers Free Cancer Screening

May 21, 2002

Dermatologists from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and the community will conduct a free skin cancer screening from 5:30 until 7:30 p.m., Thursday, May 30 at the Medical Center’s dermatology clinic, 9th floor, Richard Janeway Clinical Sciences Tower.

Participants may receive a spot check or a full body examination for skin cancer and ask questions about skin care products to protect them from overexposure to the sun. Free product samples and pamphlets will be given to all that attend.

“Your chances of getting skin cancer in your lifetime are one in six,” said Phillip M. Williford, associate professor of dermatology and director of dermatologic surgery at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. “Many people think of it as a disease of the elderly, but we are seeing more and more cancers in young people. They don’t realize the harm that tanning does to their skin, and many think that they are immune to skin cancer.”

According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States with about one million new cases diagnosed annually. The most serious kind of skin cancer--malignant melanoma--kills more than 7,000 people a year. Fortunately, most skin cancers can be cured if detected early.

The chances of eventually getting skin cancer are one in six. Risk factors include:

  • Fair skin.
  • A history of work outdoors or considerable sun exposure.
  • A history of childhood sunburns.
  • A family history of skin cancer.
  • A greater than average number of moles.
  • Unusually shaped or colored moles or skin growths.


One can reduce the risk of developing skin cancer by:

  • Performing monthly self-examinations of the skin and getting yearly examinations by a dermatologist.
  • Wearing hats and other protective clothing when outdoors.
  • Applying sunscreen liberally about 20 minutes before sun exposure.
  • Using a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.
  • Reapplying sunscreen frequently, at least every two hours if you remain outdoors.
  • Avoiding direct sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest.


Sun safety is especially important for children.

“The majority of our ultraviolet radiation exposure occurs before 15 to 18 years of age,” said Williford. “It is estimated that protecting children from excess exposure during those years will dramatically reduce the numbers of cutaneous malignancies in later life.”

Sun exposure can also lead to permanent skin damage. Even moderate repeated sun exposure causes visible skin damage, such as wrinkling and freckling.

No appointment is needed for the screening and parking is free. Contact Health On-Call at 716-2255 for more information.


Contact: Jim Steele or Mark Wright, (336) 716-4587.

Media Relations

Main Number: news@wakehealth.edu, 336-713-4587