Just in Time for Summer: 5 Affordable Ways to Get Screened for Skin Cancer

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Summer’s coming. That means picnics, pool parties and a whole lot of fun in the sun.

It’s also a good time to start stocking up on sunscreen.

I know it’s gloppy, smelly and a hassle to put on every couple of hours, but it’s worth it to protect yourself against skin cancer.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, skin cancer is the most common form of the disease  in the U.S.

In fact, around 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day.

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and the Skin Cancer Foundation is encouraging people to take measures to prevent what it calls “mainly a lifestyle disease.”

Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, is more likely to occur in older people but a number of other risk factors could cause it to develop in people of any age.

The Skin Cancer Foundation and the American Academy of Dermatology offer free educational materials that parents and teachers can use to teach children about the importance of protecting themselves from harmful sun rays.

Even babies aren’t immune from sun damage. New guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommend physicians begin counseling parents on skin-cancer prevention for children as young 6 months old.

Skin cancer is easier to treat when detected early, so regular screenings are important.

Where to Find Affordable Skin Cancer Screenings

There are a variety of ways to find affordable skin care screenings near you.

  • SPOTme, the American Academy of Dermatology’s skin cancer prevention program, offers an online database of locations throughout the country to get a free skin cancer screening.

If there aren’t currently any locations in your area, be sure to sign up for email alerts from SPOTme to be notified when screenings are scheduled within 50 miles of you.

  • The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery also has an online database of screening locations in your area.
  • The nonprofit organization Skin Cancer Free assists people who can’t afford the full cost of a complete skin cancer screening.
  • Physician groups, dermatologists and hospital systems across the country are offering free skin cancer screenings in May for Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Contact your local hospital for more information.
  • Medicare does not cover screenings in people who aren’t showing symptoms of skin cancer. However, it does cover screening when a patient or physician is concerned about new skin growth or changes to existing moles.

One of the best ways to combat skin cancer is using a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day.

But the cost of sunscreen can really add up. Try these six tips to save a few bucks.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She lives in Florida so she bathes in sunscreen year-round.