BENNINGTON—August 8, 2016—Lixia Ellis, MD, PhD, a dermatologist at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, will perform free full-body skin checks from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, September 17, 2016. Cases of melanoma, one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer, are more prevalent in this area, which is why people should take advantage of a free screening in September.
While open to everyone, the screenings are targeted at people with no insurance or with high deductibles, and an appointment is required. To make an appointment, call 802-447-5544. The screenings will be done at SVMC Dermatology, 140 Hospital Drive, Suite 205, in Bennington.
Linda White, medical assistant for Dr. Ellis, said in the past at least one melanoma is diagnosed at each screening.
“Twenty people were diagnosed locally with melanoma in the past year, and Ellis diagnoses between 25 and 30 new non-melanoma skin cancers each week,” said White.
According to the American Association of Dermatologists, 3.5 million Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma this year. One melanoma patient in the US dies every hour.
“While melanoma is one of the most serious forms of skin cancer, if detected and treated early, the survival rate is 98 percent.” said Ellis. “If it metastasizes, however, it gets into the lymph nodes and the odds of survival become slim.”
The two most common types of non-melanoma cancers she diagnoses are basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas. Both are often easily treated and cured.
Ellis also shared she sees more skin cancer cases here in Bennington than in other places and the numbers are higher than the national average.
“In Bennington and the northeast in general, people go for many months without much sun exposure. When summer comes they’re eager to get outside and enjoy the sunshine,” Ellis said. “But since their skin is not used to it and they are not in the habit of protecting themselves, they get sunburns. Burns are what lead to skin cancers.”
She advises people to be mindful of using sunscreen, wearing hats, protective clothing, and sun glasses; seeking shade; and avoiding tanning beds.
Southwestern Vermont Health Care is a comprehensive, preeminent health care system providing exceptional, convenient, and affordable care to the communities of Bennington and Windham Counties of Vermont, eastern Rensselaer and Washington Counties of New York, and northern Berkshire County in Massachusetts. SVHC’s providers are members of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Putnam Physicians, a multispecialty medical group operated in partnership with Dartmouth-Hitchcock. SVHC includes the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation, a 150-bed long- and short-term care facility; the SVHC Foundation; and Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), a 99-bed community hospital. SVMC’s services include an emergency department staffed by physicians each of whom is board certified in emergency medicine; the Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center, which is accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer and managed by Dartmouth-Hitchcock; and a fully digital imaging department. SVMC also includes 19 primary and specialty care practices with offices in Bennington, Manchester, Pownal, West Dover, and Wilmington, VT. The hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission and is the state’s first Magnet Center for Nursing Excellence, a distinction it has held since 2002. To learn more, visit svhealthcare.org.