But, What If I Cannot Afford to See a Dermatologist?

So, you are doing everything that is recommended. You are committed to good sun care practices. You wear SPF 30 or more broad spectrum sunscreen.You tried to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun from 10am-2pm. You wear sunglasses. You wear a broad-brimmed hat. You are diligent with self-checks. You understand what to look for with regard to melanomas, carcinomas and the like. But what happens when you find something? What happens when you find an unusual mole and you cannot afford to see a healthcare professional to get it checked out?

No health insurance coverage

You may not have health insurance or cannot afford the high deductible that comes with many plans these days, now what? Well, if you are in Beaufort and Hilton Head, South Carolina, and in many other cities across the United States, then you are in luck. I have found that there are many clinics and dermatologists that offer free screenings like the one described here. It seems that the word has gotten out to these places that skin cancer is a community-wide problem that requires community-wide solutions. In fact, melanoma was recently named as an epidemic, and has gotten nationwide attention.

You are not alone

OK, that’s great but if you don’t live anywhere near South Carolina, now what? Well, there are online resources to help you. One is through the American Academy of Dermatology’s website. On this page you may search for free skin cancer screenings in your area. You may also sign up for email alerts when free screenings are offered within 50 miles of your zip code.

Practical resources to help you

Another useful tool can be found on the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery website. There is a search tool that requires you to “zoom in” on your home area to find local dermatologists and their contact information. The American Cancer Society has offices around the country and can be a good resource as well. If these resources do not work for you, try your local county Department of Health.

No shame in getting help

We all go through difficult times. Sometimes finances are tight and we need a little support. There is certainly no shame in asking for help and getting a free check-up. This may just save your life or the life of a loved one. Resources are out there designed to help and I recommend taking advantage of them. There are times in my life that I have had to do this and I am certainly happy that I did.

Get your dermatologist on board

If you have a good dermatologist, ask him or her if their practice offers free clinics to the community and relay this information on local Internet Boards, on the Skincancer.net site or tell a friend in need. Sometimes an encouraging word to a healthcare professional will open up this conversation and lead to better community-wide outcomes. I have personally found that serving the community in my area of expertise or gifting brings me great joy and has always been worth effort.

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