Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer today, and the number of cases continues to grow. Although awareness campaigns continually discuss the dangers of prolonged sun exposure and the importance of using sunscreen, much of the population doesn’t possess an understanding of just how important early detection is to surviving this prevalent type of cancer. It is extremely beneficial to know about the disease, the importance of annual skin cancer screenings and ways you can monitor yourself at home for warning signs.
About Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is most treatable the earlier it is detected. Skin cancer can spread to other areas of the body rapidly. The fatality rate increases in conjunction with the depth that the cancer spreads. Anyone who encounters exposure to the sun is at risk. Virtually no one is immune from the chances of acquiring the disease.
There are four types of skin cancer that are most frequently seen. Melanoma is the deadliest. Actinic keratosis (AK) are precancerous skin lesions, usually pinkish gray in color and may be scaly. Basal skin carcinoma (BCC) looks like a scab, but it doesn’t seem to heal. Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is similar to BCC in that it can look a bit like a scab. It grows near the top layer of skin and can take on a number of difference appearances, including open sores, scaly red patches, warts or elevated growths. If caught early, the vast majority of those with AK, BCC and SCC will fully recover. Melanoma is more difficult to treat.
What to Expect from Annual Skin Cancer Screenings
Our physician will likely give you a full body visual exam to look for signs, such as abnormal growths, asymmetric moles or other unusual blemishes. The appointment usually takes between 15 minutes and a half hour. Expect it to take more time if you have a lot of freckles or moles to examine.
Areas prone to skin cancer lesions are the scalp, between the toes, near the buttocks, in the groin region, behind the ears and between the toes. These places will receive more focus. If any troublesome spots are found, further testing, such as a biopsy, may be required. Seeing a certified dermatologist yearly for screenings is standard, but more frequent visits are recommended for those who have been diagnosed with skin cancer in the past.
Now that you are aware of the signs of skin cancer and the areas where it tends to grow, you can make an effort to check yourself for signs at home. About once each season is sufficient for most. Monthly is best if you have a history of skin cancer. Keep a log book of observations to be aware of any changes. Drastic growths or changes in color warrant an appointment with our dermatologist.
Schedule Your Skin Cancer Screening Today
Awareness and annual skin cancer screenings are the key to skin cancer survival. With locations in Coral Springs and Sunrise, Dermatology Consultants of South Florida and Spa Cosmedica and Laser Center is here to help. Be sure to talk to our board-certified dermatologist about any concerns you may have. Catching skin cancer early could save your life. Contact us today to schedule your skin cancer screening.