HUMBLE, TEXAS (June 16, 2010)

Physicians with Memorial Hermann Cancer Center - Northeast examined approximately 122 patients at its annual free skin cancer screening event and identified 31 individuals with suspicious moles or other growths requiring biopsy - a 127 percent increase from 2009.

"Half of all new cancers diagnosed in the United States are some form of skin cancer and one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of their lifetime," said Dr. Majid Mohiuddin, a radiation oncologist at Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital. "We hold these free screenings annually with the hope that the Humble and surrounding communities will take advantage of this great opportunity to be proactive about their health."

Sixteen of the 31 patients requiring biopsy were suspected to have Basal Cell Carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer. Four were suspected to have Squamous Cell Carcinoma, the second most common form of skin cancer.

"Patients will very often postpone going to the doctor to have a suspicious mole or lesion looked at," said Linda Wuest, Nurse Navigator at Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital. "A free screening event can be much more accessible for patients, and allows our physicians to help detect a possible cancerous growth at an earlier stage."

Although most skin growths are not cancer, it's important to check with the doctor about new growths or changes in old growths, continued Dr. Mohiuddin. "When growths become cancerous, they may change in size or color, or become sores that do not heal. Regular skin self-examination is a very important prevention tool."

Doctors who participated in the cancer screening event included Dr. Steven Smith, board certified dermatologist and Dr. Chris Connor, board certified plastic surgeon - both affiliated with Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital. For more information about upcoming free skin cancer screenings, call 713.222.CARE.