Skin Care Defense: Marin General Hospital And Kaiser Permanente Team Up To Offer Annual Free Skin Cancer Screenings May 21

GREENBRAE, CA — Generations of Americans have grown up believing in the myth of the “healthy tan,” only later to discover its damaging effects. As the summer season kicks off, Marin General Hospital, Kaiser Permanente, and local dermatologists are partnering to help North Bay residents assess the state of their skin health by providing free skin cancer screenings at Marin General Hospital on Saturday, May 21, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Dermatologists from the community and both organizations will conduct examinations of pre-registered patients. Screenings will take place in a clinic setting with a scan of each patient’s skin. Results will be shared with screened patients, along with recommendations for any treatment and protection.

“Over the last 30 years, we have learned much about the devastating effects of too much direct exposure to the sun without proper protection,” says David A. Laub, MD, a Mill Valley dermatologist who consults at Marin General Hospital and is co-chair of the screening team. “But we also know that there are clear, easy steps people can take to protect themselves.”

“For those who may have experienced deep sunburns, even decades ago, early detection of changes in your skin is paramount,” adds John Maddox, MD, chief of Kaiser Permanente San Rafael Dermatology department, and co-chair of the screening team. “It’s important that people regularly check themselves for anything that looks different. When in doubt, bring it to the attention of your physician.”

Drs. Laub and Maddox share these American Academy of Dermatology tips for preventing sun damage, and determining if further investigation by a doctor is merited:

Skin Cancer Detection Tips

  1. Check your skin on a monthly basis. Note new marks or moles and whether or not they have changed in size or appearance.
  2. Follow the "ABCDE rule" to distinguish a normal mole from melanoma:
    1. Asymmetry: The two halves of a mole do not match.
    2. Border irregularity: The edges of the mole are ragged and uneven. 
    3. Color: Differing shades of tan, brown or black and sometimes patches of red, blue or white. 
    4. Diameter: The mole is wider than a quarter inch in size. 
    5. Evolving lesion: This is a lesion that changes in size, shape, shades of color or symptoms, or has surface bleeding.
  3. Have your skin examined by a doctor every three years for people between 20 and 40 years of age and every year for anyone over the age of 40. 

Skin Cancer Protection Tips

  1.  Cover up. When out in the sun, wear clothing to protect as much skin as possible. Long-sleeved shirts, long pants, or long skirts cover the most skin and are the most protective.
  2. Use sunscreen. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends applying sunscreen products with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30, at least 30 minutes prior to outdoor activity. 
  3. Wear a hat. A hat with at least a 2- to 3-inch brim is ideal because it protects areas such as the ears, eyes, forehead, nose, and scalp that are often exposed to intense sun. 
  4. Wear sunglasses that block UV rays. Sunglasses protect the skin around the eyes, as well as the eyes themselves. Sunglasses should block 99 percent to 100 percent of UVA and UVB radiation. 
  5. Limit direct sun exposure during midday. Avoid being outdoors in sunlight too long. UV rays are strongest when the sun is high in the sky, usually from 10 am to 4 pm.
  6. Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps. Tanning lamps give out UVA and usually UVB rays, which can cause long-term skin damage, and can contribute to skin cancer. 
  7. Protect children from the sun. Parents and other caregivers should protect children from excess sun exposure by using the steps described above.

Participating Physicians

Community dermatologists: Kim Frederickson, MD, Novato; David Laub, MD, Mill Valley; Benjamin Nichols, MD, Greenbrae; and Cheryl Tanasovich, MD, Greenbrae.

Kaiser Permanente dermatologists: Julia Haimowitz, MD, San Rafael; John Maddox, MD, San Rafael; Jeffrey Schneider, MD, San Rafael; and Nancy Todes-Taylor, MD, Mill Valley.

To participate in the screening, patients must be pre-registered, by calling 888-996-9644 to reserve a place or to get more details. Screening participants in are advised to enter through the West Lobby at Marin General Hospital, where they will be directed to the screening location.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 8.7 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to www.kp.org/newscenter.

Carol A. Harris
Community and Government Relations Manager
Marin/Sonoma Service Area 
Kaiser Permanente
carol.a.harris@kp.org 
Phone: (415) 893-4069
Cell: (415) 686-4255