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Ironman Skin Cancer Screening

Skin Cancer Screening

In conjunction with the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF), we held our second annual Ironman skin cancer screening and saw a new record of 425 athletes, spectators and local residents!

MRF volunteers educated the public on the dangers of sun exposure and our volunteer medical staff identified 22 Basal Cell Carcinoma, three Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and four Melanoma. Many irregular moles, pre-cancers and other skin issues were addressed as well.

Skin Cancer Screening collage
Photos L to R: Dr. Scheel doing a scalp check where skin cancers often go undetected. A melanoma caught early. A pro triathlete concerned about a spot.

We look forward to offering this free community service again next year October 8th – 10th at the Ironman Expo in downtown Kailua-Kona.

Tips to decrease your risk of skin cancer:
  • Generously apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or more to all exposed skin. “Broad-spectrum” provides protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Reapply approximately every 2 hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating. Don’t forget after 4 hours your sunscreen is not effective any longer.
  • Remember the “SPF” on the bottle only tells you about UVB protection. Read the ingredients to make sure there is adequate UVA protection.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses, when possible.
  • Seek shade when appropriate. Remember that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Protect children from sun exposure. Be sure to play in the shade, use protective clothing, and apply sunscreen.
  • Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand because they reflect and intensify the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chances of sunburn.
  • Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that may include vitamin supplements. Don’t seek the sun.
  • If you want to look like you’ve been in the sun, consider using a sunless self-tanning product, but continue to use sunscreen with it.
  • Check your birthday suit on your birthday. If you notice anything changing, growing, or bleeding on your skin, see a dermatologist. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.
Skin cancer facts:
  • More than 2 million non-melanoma skin cancers are diagnosed annually.
  • Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are the two most common forms of skin cancer, but both are easily treated if detected early.
  • Current estimates are that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer.
  • Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old and the second most common form of cancer for adolescents and young adults 15-29 years old.
  • One in 59 men and women will be diagnosed with melanoma during their lifetime.
  • One American dies of melanoma almost every hour.
  • People who have more than 50 moles, atypical moles, or a family history of melanoma are at an increased risk of developing melanoma.
  • The five-year survival rate for people whose melanoma is detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes is 98 percent.
  • The American Cancer Society recommends a skin cancer-related checkup annually for men and women beginning at age 20.
  • Individuals who have a history of melanoma should have a full-body exam at least annually and perform regular self-exams for new and changing moles.