Edina, Illinois, is an affluent suburb that has seen more than 3,000 new cases of skin cancer since the state launched its statewide campaign.
It’s a remarkable number for a town of fewer than 3 million people.
It also raises the question of why the county has seen such a steep increase in skin cancers in the last few years.
“I don’t know if there is a correlation,” says Edina doctor Dr. Stephen W. McKeown.
“It could be a combination of the factors that are driving it, but I’m not sure.”
The most common type of skin cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, or squamous-cell cancers, but the county is also seeing an uptick in squamous and non-small cell lung cancers.
These are cancerous and treatable skin cells that grow on the surface of the skin and that are very common in people over 50 years of age.
“We’re seeing more than 2,500 new cases a week,” says McKeow.
That’s a huge increase compared to what the county saw a few years ago.
“A lot of our young doctors don’t have to take time off, and they don’t really want to take the time off,” says Dr. W. Wayne Stoddart.
Stoddard is an associate professor of dermatology at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
He’s seen more skin cancers since the campaign began.
“What we’re seeing is a much higher percentage of squamous cells in the community,” he says.
And that’s where Edina’s new campaign comes in. “
And we’re also seeing more non-squamous cell cancers, which are more difficult to diagnose.”
And that’s where Edina’s new campaign comes in.
The county began reporting the new skin cancer cases last week.
That means every patient who has been diagnosed has had to fill out a form to report their new case.
And for most, it takes two to three weeks to receive their results.
“There’s been a lot of interest and support,” says Stoddars wife, Dr. Mary.
“The community is really appreciative.
And it’s helped us get the numbers we need.”
So far, about 1,100 of the new cases have been diagnosed in Edina.
“People are going to have a lot to thank us for,” says W. K. Whelan, the county’s chief medical officer.
“Edina has been very proactive in the prevention of this,” says David T. Tack, the deputy medical director for health services for Edina County.
Tuckers, who has worked in Edens dermatology for about two decades, says the county does not have to wait for the state to take action to take on its aggressive skin cancer campaign.
“In the past, the community would take on the burden for their own health, and we did that, but we don’t need that,” says Tuckes.
“Our goal is to provide the community with quality skin care services that are safe, effective and are free of risk factors.”
The county has been doing some proactive steps too.
It has begun sending out an education letter to residents and asking them to check out its website to learn more about the disease.
That will be an important tool, says Tack.
“Because the skin cancer screening has been so successful, I think there’s a need for awareness, for the community to understand what is happening,” says the deputy director of health services.
“These are not the usual skin cancers that are going around.
These can be the most aggressive ones, so it’s important for people to get screened.”
The campaign is targeting people who have had a recent cancer diagnosis, such as someone with a family history of skin or lung cancer.
“This is a very targeted approach,” says Susan Smith, who’s the executive director of the Edina Citizens’ Coalition Against Skin Cancer.
“When we do this, we are targeting the person that has had a diagnosed skin cancer.
That person has had an infection or an infection and they have been exposed to a risk factor.
They don’t live in Edinas, but they have the right combination of factors that lead to these infections.”
In other words, the more time you spend outside the home, the higher your risk of getting skin cancer, and the more exposure you have to sunlight, the greater your risk.
“They’ve got to do something to get outside,” says Smith.
“If you’re going to do your skin care at home, then do it in a safe environment.”
And the county also has a few other things in place to help people manage their skin.
It offers a free screening and test kit.
And people who are concerned about their health can get the help they need through a free wellness program.
Edina also has more than a dozen clinics and clinics that offer free and discounted medical services.
The County Health Department is also helping to spread the word about the campaign