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Melanoma Skin Cancer Prevention Month: free skin screenings offered

Part 1 of a two-part series. Hear what dermatologist Dr. Ashley Sturgeon has to say about common areas where producers often develop sunspots.

Shelley E. Huguley, Editor

May 7, 2019

Updated: Date updated to reflect 2019 dates for the free screening.

May is designated as National Melanoma Skin Cancer Prevention Month by the American Academy of Dermatology. Melanoma is a type of skin cancer, and it is the deadliest of skin cancers. But self-checks and regular screenings by a dermatologist can catch a spot before it becomes deadly.

In this two-part video series, Dr. Ashley Sturgeon, a farmer’s wife and assistant professor of dermatology at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, Texas, addresses common areas where farmers and ranchers often develop skin spots, the importance of self skin-checks and prevention

“Skin checks are really important because there are things someone might find that they won’t show a dermatologist, so it's really important to find things before they become problems,” explains Sturgeon.“If you catch things early, its most often an easy fix.”

And while every skin cancer is not as bad as melanoma, she says early detection is key. “You hear about melanoma being deadly and horrible and it certainly is, but if you catch it early a simple procedure could cure it."

Many events are being held throughout May in the U.S. to focus on skin health, sun safety, tanning prevention, and provide people with helpful resources. Free skin cancer screenings will also be available in clinics throughout the nation, including May 11 at the Southwest Cancer Center, Lubbock. The free screening is open to anyone, with or without health insurance, from 8 a.m to 2 p.m., says Sturgeon. To find a free skin cancer screening location or to learn more about skin cancer, go to:

See photo gallery, The naked truth about skin cancer

"This is a screening, not an office visit," Sturgeon states. "I would plead with farmers to get their skin checked. It's so important. If I catch something early it's no big deal. If you wait until it becomes noticeable to you that's when it can be a problem. And skin cancer can go from not a big deal to a really big deal in just a matter of months."

All are asked to join the American Academy of Dermatology in wearing orange and encouraging others to wear orange for skin cancer awareness.

See Farmer’s wife/dermatologist urges farmers, ranchers to protect their skin or I’d stand naked for much less to read about Southeast Farm Press Editor Brad Haire's bout with skin cancer. To view Part II of this series, click here

To learn about the ABCDEs of melanoma, go to

About the Author(s)

Shelley E. Huguley

Editor, Southwest Farm Press

Shelley Huguley has been involved in agriculture for the last 25 years. She began her career in agricultural communications at the Texas Forest Service West Texas Nursery in Lubbock, where she developed and produced the Windbreak Quarterly, a newspaper about windbreak trees and their benefit to wildlife, production agriculture and livestock operations. While with the Forest Service she also served as an information officer and team leader on fires during the 1998 fire season and later produced the Firebrands newsletter that was distributed quarterly throughout Texas to Volunteer Fire Departments. Her most personal involvement in agriculture also came in 1998, when she married the love of her life and cotton farmer Preston Huguley of Olton, Texas. As a farmwife, she knows first-hand the ups and downs of farming, the endless decisions made each season based on “if” it rains, “if” the drought continues, “if” the market holds. She is the bookkeeper for their family farming operation and cherishes moments on the farm such as taking harvest meals to the field or starting a sprinkler in the summer with the whole family lending a hand. Shelley has also freelanced for agricultural companies such as Olton CO-OP Gin, producing the newsletter Cotton Connections while also designing marketing materials to promote the gin. She has published articles in agricultural publications such as Southwest Farm Press while also volunteering her marketing and writing skills to non-profit organizations such as Refuge Services, an equine-assisted therapy group in Lubbock. She and her husband reside in Olton with their three children Breely, Brennon and HalleeKate.

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