Skin cancer screening clinic in Moncton sees high turnout

A free skin cancer screening clinic in Moncton on Tuesday proved popular, with many people anxious to learn about the early warning signs of melanoma.

An estimated 175 New Brunswickers will be diagnosed with melanoma this year

Skin cancer clinic in Moncton can't keep up with demand. 2:13

Dermatologists had trouble keeping up with the demand during a free one-day skin cancer screening clinic in Moncton on Tuesday.

Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is on the rise across the country.

An estimated 175 New Brunswickers will be diagnosed with melanoma this year and many people, like Peggy Atkinson, were keen to learn about the early warning signs.

Dermatologist Dr. Chantal Chiasson checks out Peggy Atkinson's skin for any warning signs of melanoma. (CBC)
Atkinson says she didn't wear sunscreen earlier in life.

"I was always somebody who laid in the sun and tried to get as brown as I possibly could. And anyway, I'm now paying for it because it's sort of showing up in little spots here and there," she said.

Dr. Chantal Chiasson, one of the dermatologists offering the free screenings as part of National Sun Awareness Week, recommends people check their skin for spots once a month.

"If it can be detected early, the treatment can lead to very good results," with cure rates of up to 90 per cent, said Chiasson.

Brown spots are the skin's way of trying to protect itself from repeated sun exposure by creating additional pigmentation, she said.

But people should watch for asymmetry, irregular borders, variations in colour, she said. Growth and overall changes or evolution of the spots are also warning signs.

Barry MacKenzie, who was soaking in the rays at Parlee Beach in Shediac on Tuesday, says he had some "bad habits" when he was younger.

"Laying on the patio with baby oil, that's not good," he said.

MacKenzie says he tries to be better about applying sunscreen now, despite the nuisance.

Kelly MacKenzie says she has also gotten better about it over the years.

"I do put it on when I go outside, I probably don't put it on as often as I should," she said.

But fellow sun-seeker Yacena Mahdid says he never wears sunscreen. "I just never do," he said. "I don't know, I like summer, I like sunshine."

Dermatologists recommend applying sunscreen with and SPF of 30 or higher and reapplying, as needed.