The American Cancer Society will offer a free skin-cancer screening clinic from 9 a.m. to noon on Thursday, May 23, in the Bountiful Stake Center, 640 S. 750 East.

"Because of the high elevation, Utah's incidence of skin cancer is high," said Dr. Leonard Swinyer, a dermatologist. "The fact that we don't have as much atmosphere filtering out the more drastic ultraviolet wave lengths is one contributor to the problem. Utah has a large fair-complexioned population and a lot of sunny days in the year, which is conducive of our going out in the sun."More than 600,000 people are expected to develop skin cancer this year. Skin cancer is expected to claim 8,500 lives, 6,500 from malignant melanoma.

To reduce risk, Utahns should avoid excessive exposure to the sun, Swinyer said. Occupational exposure to coal tar, pitch, creosote, arsenic compounds and radium are also among the risk factors. Sun-tanning booths also put customers at risk, but certain medications can heighten reaction to ultraviolet radiation.

Swinyer said people should carefully monitor their own moles or other pigmented growths. Among skin cancer's warning signs in such growth spots are scaliness, oozing, bleeding, a change in appearance, the spread of pigmentation beyond its border, itchiness, tenderness or pain.