PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Doctors say it’s time to make annual appointments a priority again.
“There have been many people, patients of mine, that have sort of taken 2020 and 2021 off for doing what they consider the unnecessary or the nonurgent physician appointments,” said Dr. Seth B. Forman, Dermatologist at ForCare Dermatology.
According to the American Cancer Society, it’s estimated by the end of this year that 106,110 people will have been diagnosed with new melanoma cases and 7,180 people are expected to die.
Experts say those numbers are higher than years prior.
“I want to remind people that skin cancer does not take a break, or any type of cancer for that matter, it doesn’t take a break just because there’s a pandemic,” said Forman.
That’s why they’re pushing doctor office visits again before something that was preventable becomes irreversible.
“I encourage patients to get all of their cancer screenings and remain up to date because you could be saving your life,” said Forman.
As dermatologists encourage people to make skin health a priority, they also want to remind people to check their sunscreen.
There was a voluntary recall for sunscreens containing the chemical, benzene, last month.
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“They thought it was due to getting into the bloodstream. And we don’t want benzene in the bloodstream. It can be a toxic organic material,” said Forman.
Doctors worry people never checked and may still have it on their shelves at home.
They stress there are still plenty of safe sunscreens available, and people need to use them. They’re the first line of defense to protect from those rising skin cancer rates.
“I want to make sure that these types of scares occasionally will scare people from using all types of sunscreens. We certainly don’t want that to be the case,” said Forman.
Dermatologists say people should be wearing sunscreen and protective clothing year-round, rain or shine.
“The ultraviolet rays do get through clouds. It’s still there if it’s cold outside so you need to protect yourself at all times,” said Forman.