Free skin cancer screenings in Phila.

May 22, 2010 5:04:45 AM PDT
Summer vacation time is almost here. You've heard the message before about sun safety. But doctors suspect a rising number of skin cancers aren't coming from sun exposure but from indoor tanning. A Cherry Hill woman says she's learned her lesson about tanning the hard way.

During her 20s, Lois Vespe wasn't a sun person: "I never wanted to be at the beach and sit in the sun," Vespe told Action News.

But she did go to tanning salons, especially before going on vacation.

"There's something about having that little bit of color that makes everything look better... so I thought."

At the time, doctors said they were safer than the sun. Then last year, her dermatologist found a suspicious mole on her back. It turned out to be melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.

Fortunately, the melanoma hadn't spread to any lymph nodes. after 2 operations, Lois is cancer-free.

But the experience left her with a scar on her back and a mission to warn others about indoor tanning.

Dr. Christopher Miller of Penn Medicine says skin cancer is rising dramatically, especially among young women. Statistics point to the growing number of indoor tanners.

" If someone has used a tanning bed before the age of 30," says Dr. Christopher Miller of Penn Medicine, "they have a 75 per cent increased chance of getting skin cancer."

Earlier this year, FDA advisors recommended banning anyone under 18 from indoor tanning. Lois wishes she'd known about the danger when she was younger.

"If someone said to me - your chances of getting skin cancer are much great because you're going to the tanning salon," Vespe says, "I honestly think I wouldn't have gone."

Penn Dermatology is offering free skin cancer screenings this Saturday. Appointments are a must. To schedule one, call (215) 662-2737.

Saturday, May 22nd
10am- 12pm
2210 State Hill Road
Wyomissing, PA 19610
Danielle L. DeLong, BS, PA-C
Dr. Harriet Comite
Dr. Robert Nagy