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Skin Cancer Screening Saves Lives by Early Skin Cancer Detection and Melanoma Detection:

by Board-certified Memphis Dermatologist George Woodbury Jr. M.D. (06/01/2023)

Dermatologists are battling a growing crisis in the US with a type of Skin Cancer called Melanoma. The incidence has gone up over 400% in the last 40 years! The number of people in the United States developing Melanoma surpassed 75,000 in 2013, with over 7300 Melanoma deaths anticipated in 2023. 1500 of these people with Melanoma were younger than 20. Basal Cell Skin Cancer and Squamous Cell Skin Cancer are also increasing in incidence. In my own Memphis Dermatology practice since 1993 - with Rheumatology and Dermatology Associates, 8143 Walnut Grove Road, Cordova TN 38018 (1-901-753-0168;, own youngest Melanoma patient to the present was only 10 years old! So let's look at why Skin Cancer Screening is a helpful practice.

The person in the photo below has a Melanoma on his forehead:

Why is melanoma going up in incidence? We think that a combination of factors is at fault: more outdoor sun exposure, more blistering sunburns, and use of tanning salons. Over 1 million American teens use indoor tanning each week!


So what can you do about the risk of Melanoma, of Basal Cell Skin Cancer, and of Squamous Cell Skin Cancer and Atypical moles for your own family?

1. First, avoid mid-day sun and tanning salon use. Use protective clothing, sun hats, and sunglasses in the summer. Umbrellas and sun hats are the new look.

2. Secondly, USE THAT SUNSCREEN. Protect yoursself when in the sun. You want a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, best if reapplied every 90 minutes when out. Look for a broad spectrum sunscreen, one that protects both against both the UVB rays and the UVA rays. Vanicream Sunscreen SPF 50 is appealing because it’s less likely to run into your eyes: Big River Silk Skincare Inc. is an organic skincare products company of which I am president (3 oz Vanicream: $17.95) plus applicable $5.00 USPS shipping/handling, or available on site at 8143 Walnut Grove Road Cordova TN 38018 (7:30 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday-Friday). Remember: it takes 2 ounces of sunscreen to adequately cover your entire body.

3. Know your moles. Summer is a great time to do your own family’s “Mole Patrol” because people tend to get undressed. Look for the “ugly duckling” sign: a mole that has changed shape or color. If you do spot a suspicious mole, get it checked out. My own Dermatology practice since 1993 has been with Rheumatology and Dermatology Associates, 8143 Walnut Grove Road, Cordova TN 38018 (1-901-753-0168). Or you can find a Dermatologist closer to you by going to the American Academy of Dermatology web site,, then plugging your zip code into “Find a Dermatologist”.

You and your family need a Skin Cancer Screening because ….with regular checkups, your doctor can often detect and treat precancerous skin lesions like solar keratoses, as well as early skin cancers. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

...the earlier a skin cancer is detected, the easier it can be biopsied and tested by the lab, and the smaller the scar. Sometimes we can even recommend treatment with creams that can prevent the development of skin cancer. Early detection definitely saves lives.

Melanoma in adults presents typically as a pigmented or changing, dark lesion which often shows ABCDE criteria: A being for Asymmentry, B for an irregular Border, C for a changing or dark Color, D for a Diameter greater than a #2 pencil, and E for an Evolving or changing lesion. Melanoma in kids usually presents as a nodule which is A = Amelanotic (lack of pigment); B= Bleeding, Bump; C=Color uniformity; D= De novo. any Diameter. So melanoma in kids can be tricky. It’s wise to get the help of a medical professional in diagnosis.

For more on Melanoma: check out “Understanding the Melanoma Crisis: Scarlet’s Story,” on Youtube, a short movie that Rheumatology and Dermatology sponsored about the story of a woman from Oxford MS, Scarlet Akins, who was studying to be a teacher at Ole Miss. Scarlet, 7 months pregnant with her first child and found to have Melanoma that had spread out of a lesion on her knee. In Tennessee, indoor tanning is now prohibited in people below the age of 16, in large part due to her moving story.

Yearly Skin Cancer Screening has allowed many of own patients to get their skin lesions diagnosed at an early stage, when outpatient removal by a Dermatologic Surgeon can be life saving. So get your moles checked, especially if you’ve been a sun lover, or have had a prior blistering sunburn, or if you have played in or worked in the sun.

For questions/comments:; 901-753-0168. George Woodbury Jr. M.D. Cordova Dermatologist, Rheumatology&Dermatology, 8143 Walnut Grove Road Cordova TN 38018. (06/01/2023)


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