$8.1 billion a year is what it costs to treat skin cancers across the United States.
Local dermatologist Beverly Held is helping cut down some of that out of pocket cost for people by offering free skin cancer testing this Thursday.
“My patients may have to die from something, many of them are in their 90’s, but they’re not going to die from skin cancer,” said Held.
Skin cancer is by far the most common type of cancer, but Held says with early detection and treatment, about 95 percent of people are cured.
“They can be fatal if they don’t get treated especially malignant melanoma,” said Held.
Held has hosted free skin cancer screenings for the past 4 years.
“Last year we found 3 regular skin cancers and 1 malignant melanoma,” said Held.
She then refers people to dermatologist or treats them herself. She says her ultimate goal is that no one she sees dies from skin cancer.
“It’s just a matter of giving back because this community has done a lot for me,” said Held.
Held says the best protection against the sun is to avoid it altogether, but of course she knows the outdoors can’t be avoided forever.
“The next best is to cover with protective clothing and the third best is sun block,” said Held.
Sun block can help prevent skin cancer but held says the biggest mistake people make is not applying it thick enough and then not re-applying it every two hours.
Neutrogena has also donated bottles of sunscreen for people who receive the screening.
Held says her clinic is all booked for free skin cancer screenings for May 2, 2019. However she plans on hosting the free screening again next year. You can also visit her website https://www.drbeverlyheld.com/ for more information.