Free skin cancer screenings available in May

Life-saving initiative will take place from May 15-19

Free skin cancer screenings are being offered from May 15-19 as part of National Free Skin Cancer Screening Week.

The potentially life-saving initiative has been set up by the dermatologists’ union, SNDV, and appointments at participating physicians are bookable at www.dermatos.fr (live from May 2) or by phone at 0805 53 2017 (free from a land line).

2,600 dermatologists will offer information on skin damage prevention (from the sun or sunbeds) as well as screening for skin cancers.

Patients, especially those at high risk – such as people with many moles, a family history of skin cancers, or those who suffered severe sunburns as a child - are invited to show any suspicious lesions or beauty spots.

During the examination, however, doctors will only investigate skin cancers and will not provide a general dermatology consultation. And there will be no treatment or prescriptions available.

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If a potentially harmful lesion is identified, a form will be given to the patient to make an appointment with a dermatologist of their choice.

Normal dermatologist consultations vary from €30 to €50 depending on the specialist's status.

About Melanoma

Uncommon compared to other skin cancers (keratoses and carcinomas), melanoma is the most serious skin cancer. It develops from melanocytes, cells for the synthesis of melanin, characterised by a dark pigment protective of the epidermis. After repeated exposure to UV rays (sun or tanning booth), melanocytes multiply in an anarchic way to form melanoma.

Melanoma is characterized by irregular edges, several colours (brown, red, black, etc.) and a diameter greater than 6mm. Its size and appearance evolve rapidly and asymmetrically

Health insurance firm AXA PPP healthcare has provided an animation showing the main points to watch for

High risk in Brittany

Last year a study by the Syndicat National des Dermatologues found that people in Brittany have more than double the potentially fatal melanoma skin cancer as people on the Riviera and nearly two and a half times that of people in the rest of France.

Dr Claudine Blanchet-Bardon, a dermatologist and anatomical pathologist who led the study, said that British and other northern European residents in France should make special efforts to protect themselves – even when it is cloudy.

Her study showed that in 2014 there were 1,305 melanoma cancers in Brittany when the national average suggested there should only 558 – and when there were just 585 in the Riviera departments Var and Alpes-Maritimes.

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