PCHD reminds residents of sun safety and skin cancer awareness

PORTSMOUTH — May is melanoma awareness month and warmer weather is finally upon us.

While out enjoying the sun during various activities, Portsmouth City Health Department would like to provide some tips on sun safety and reminders of the importance of skin health and skin checks.

An initial diagnosis of melanoma is highest in ages 25-29 in the United States. Outdoor enthusiasts can keep skin healthy in the sun by applying sunscreen SPF 15 to 30 or higher when outdoors and reapplying every two hours, especially after swimming or sweating. Wearing a wide brim hat or sunglasses can protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Annual skin checks with a dermatologist is always good practice and recommended.

The Portsmouth City Health Department announced they are now offering DermTech Melanoma Test. This is a NON-invasive test that uses smart patches to collect cells from the skin for early detection of melanoma. Some changes to look for are new moles, lesions, or any of the ABCDE’s of an existing freckle or mole.

A = Asymmetry

Melanomas are frequently asymmetrical: the shape of one half does not match the other.

B = Border

Frequently uneven or irregular borders (ragged or notched edges).

C = Color

Often contain multiple shades of brown or black but can sometimes be mixed with white, gray, blue, or red.

D = Diameter

6 mm (1/4 inch) or larger in diameter. However, with increased awareness about early detection, about 30% of melanomas are found when they are less than 6 mm in diameter.

E = Evolution

Changes in size, color, appearance, bleeding.

If you have a spot of concern that you would like checked with DermTech, call the Portsmouth City Health Department at 605 Washington Street – 2nd Floor. Walk-ins are welcome Wednesday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m and closed for lunch from noon to 12:30 p.m. Scheduled appointments are available Monday thru Friday by calling PCHD Nursing Division at 740-353-8863. Clients of all socio-economic groups are welcome. The clinic accepts a large variety of medical insurance plans, as well as residents outside of Portsmouth city limits.

Staff report

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