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Pay attention to those moles, growths

Those moles and growths on your skin may be more than a sign of aging. With skin cancer the most common cancer in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute, www.cancer.gov, it may be a good idea to get those checked out by a physician.

The number of skin cancer cases "is not leveling off," said Dr. Joe Roundtree, dermatologist, who has been practicing since 1982. "I probably see more now."

The good news is that appointments are now being taken for the annual free skin cancer screening to be held from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Leah M. Fitch Cancer Center, Cancer Centers of Southwest Oklahoma, 104 NW 31st in Lawton.

Roundtree and dermatologist Dr. Ross Hensley will be on hand to perform the two- to three-minute visual screenings. Call (580) 250-6565 no later than Friday for an appointment.

"Anything on the skin that becomes tender or bleeds ought to be looked at," Roundtree said. A visual inspection of a skin growth is not enough to definitely diagnose a type of skin cancer. "You always biopsy" before any treatment.

During the screening on Saturday, individuals with suspected growths, moles or lesions that indicate a type of skin cancer will be referred on for further assessment, Roundtree said.

There are three main types of skin cancer, named for the skin cells they form in: Basal cell carcinoma arises from the round basal cells, squamous cell carcinoma arises from the thin, flat squamous cells and melanoma forms from the melanocytes in the skin layer that make the melanin or pigment, which when exposed to sun, tans or darkens the skin, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

The Lawton Constitution

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