BEND, Ore. -

As part of a national campaign to encourage early detection and prevention of skin cancer, the Deschutes County Health Services Department, St. Charles Cancer Center and local dermatologists are teaming up to offer free screenings Saturday, Nov. 2 from 8 a.m. to noon.

The free health screenings will be held at Deschutes County Health Services, 2577 NE Courtney Dr. in Bend. Screenings are only available by appointment, please call (541) 322-7499. The event is open to both insured and uninsured residents of Central Oregon.

The free screenings will be completed by Bend Dermatology Clinic and Central Oregon Dermatology.

Bend Dermatology

Joshua May, MD                     Stephanie Trautman, MD

Ali Roberts, PA-C                    Larry Weber, PA-C

Central Oregon Dermatology

Mark Hall, MD

“Any exposure to UV rays, regardless of the time of year or weather conditions, is harmful and can contribute to the development of skin cancer,” said Dr. Joshua May of the Bend Dermatology Clinic.

More than 3.5 million skin cancers — including melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma — are diagnosed annually in the U.S. Crook and Deschutes counties had the first and second highest incidence rates of melanoma in the state for the time period 2006 to 2010, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Other contributing factors can include elevation, abundant sunshine, outdoor recreation and tanning.

"Every hour of every day someone dies of Melanoma but if caught early, this disease is over 90 percent curable. Screening and early treatment are very important," said Deschutes County Health Services Nurse Practitioner Anne Kilty.

The rate of new melanoma diagnoses—responsible for 75 percent of all skin cancer deaths—was 36 percent higher in Oregon than the national average from 2002 to 2006 and was the fourth highest in the U.S. An estimated 1,220 Oregonians were diagnosed with melanoma in 2009.