Get Checked: Free skin cancer clinic this Thursday
Skin cancer is the most commonly-diagnosed type of cancer in Canada, but it's also preventable.
In a lot of cases, it’s even treatable. A special one-day clinic is being set up in Barrie tomorrow to help educate more people and to screen for the disease.
Every six months, Terry Byer goes for a screening. He was diagnosed with melanoma two years ago.
“I knew it was a bad one to have, and they had to treat it right away,” he says. “They were very fast treating it, but it was very scary.”
Byer didn't know he had skin cancer until a mole on his back started bleeding.
Now Byer doesn't take any chances.
“I'm more aware of it now,” he says. “I'm more aware of it when I look at other people, and say you should go get that looked at.”
That’s an important message that’s echoed by cancer specialists.
Skin cancer rates in Canada are going up and according to the Canadian Cancer Society, more than 76,000 Canadians will be diagnosed this year.
“Finding something early, especially melanoma, before it spreads to the lymph nodes, before it spreads to other places that are really going to shorten your life, it's important to take care of it,” says Dr. Matthew Follwell, a radiation oncologist.
Anyone without a family doctor or nurse practitioner will be able to have their skin looked at for free.
“If there's a concern that they're not addressing, we want to give them the information they need,” says Melissa Mei with the Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cancer Program. “Maybe give them the confidence to do something about that. If they don’t have a primary care provider, and they do want somebody to look at it, we're hoping we can do that with the centre.”
People without physicians usually have to go to a walk-in clinic to get a referral to a dermatologist, and that can take time.
But when it comes to skin cancer, the longer someone waits to get treatment the worse it can be.
There is no appointment necessary for the clinic. It will be running from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on July 10 at the Barrie Community Health Centre at 490 Huronia Rd.
For more information on the skin screening clinic call 705-792-3338.