Allina Health resumes free skin cancer screenings as Minnesota sees surge in cases

Allina Health is bringing back a lifesaving service with its free skin cancer screenings after a hiatus due to the pandemic.

The appointments are part of Melanoma Monday, a time to highlight the importance of melanoma screening during Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Allina Health said appointments are full.

“We’ve been able to find and capture so many people who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to get cancer screenings,” said Dr. Liz Farhat, Allina Health’s chief dermatologist.

Skin cancer is 95% curable when detected early, according to Allina Health.

The health system said Minnesota has one of the highest melanoma rates in the nation, and it’s also one of the states that has seen both an increase in melanoma cases and death rates. .

“I found both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers during these screenings,” said Farhat, adding, “Often people don’t know what they have on their skin until let them be examined.”

Farhat said skin cancers are the most common type of cancer, something one family in western Wisconsin knows all too well.

“It’s hard, you know, not having Jenni here anymore,” Sheri Anderson said of her daughter, Jenni Tacheny, who died at age 34 of desmoplastic melanoma.

Anderson herself is currently battling skin cancer.

“I went on a chemo vacation for a couple of weeks and now I’m doing it again this week,” Anderson told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS as she sat next to her brother, Brant Backes, who recently had his baby removed. two spots on his skin. One was positive for cancer.

“Don’t wait because you don’t know what it is,” Backes said. “It’s kind of what my parents always said, ‘Plan for the worst and hope for the best.'”

Anderson’s community has rallied around his family, and counting. Close friends of Anderson have planned a few perks at UW Wanderoos Bar & Grill in Amery, Wisconsin. The first will take place on May 13, starting at 6 p.m. The next will take place on June 10, starting at 4 p.m.

Although Allina Health’s free screenings are comprehensive, people can find resources to learn more about melanoma and plan care here.

You can also pre-screen yourself at home using this infographic from Allina Health.