Who Should Have A Skin Cancer Screening And How Often
Everyone, regardless of skin color or tone, benefits from annual skin cancer screenings. In fact, people of color arent usually diagnosed until skin cancer has reached a later stage, making it more difficult to treat.
If you have a higher risk of skin cancer, Dr. Skaggs may recommend more frequent skin checks. Signs you might have a higher risk of developing skin cancers include having:
- Blonde or red hair, light eyes, and skin that sunburns or freckles easily
- A family history of melanoma
- A history of using tanning beds or machines
- An organ transplant
- A history of unusual or irregular moles
- A history of sunburns, particularly if you blistered
- A large number of moles
You may also be a candidate for more frequent exams if your work or hobbies mean you spend more time in the sun and exposed to harmful rays than an average person.
What Happens During A Skin Check
This appointment allows your dermatologist to examine your skin â all of your skin â for points of concern. âThe expectation should be that every nook and cranny of you is being looked at during that exam, including your scalp, behind your ears, bottom of your feet, in-between your toes, in the genitalia, et cetera,â Dr. Markowitz says.
To do so, once you reach the examination room you will be asked to disrobe and change into a gown. Dr. Henry notes that some doctors may ask you to remove your undergarments, while others will just move them around while checking. âEither way, you shouldn’t be alarmed because it really is important that we look at everything,â Dr. Henry adds. Your doctor may also refer you to your ob-gyn or primary care doctor for the examination of the genital area.
Dr. Henry adds that she checks inside the eyelids, inside the mouth, under the tongue, and in the nose. She also always feels the lymph nodes, which is especially important for someone who has had cancer in the past. Photos may be taken in order to track changes on certain moles the next time you visit the office.
These examinations shouldnât be done with just the naked eye either. According to Dr. Markowitz, your doctor should be utilizing a specialized magnifying tool called a dermatoscope, which allows them to get a closer, clearer image of a mole or area of the body and even catch cancers before they have any clinical features, or the ABCDEs of melanoma.
Skin Cancer Risk Factors
Despite common misconceptions, everyone is at risk for skin cancer. It does not matter your age or race, and even people with Black and Brown skin are at risk. Some of the factors you can control include limiting your sun exposure. Ultraviolet radiation is the number one cause of skin cancer, and UV rays are present even on cold or cloudy days.
Residing or spending time in areas with significant amounts of water, snow, sand, and concrete all of which reflect the suns rays further increases your risk of developing skin cancer. Tanning beds and sunlamps similarly contribute to skin cancer rates, the incidence of which continues to increase throughout the U.S. The risk of developing melanoma, a potentially deadly form of skin cancer, likewise doubles with every 10 years of an adults life.
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Is Skin Cancer Screening Preventive Care
Skin cancer screening is a type of preventive care. It can detect lesions that are pre-cancerous so your dermatologist can remove them if needed. This exam also can help detect skin cancer before it spreads and when its at its most treatable.
For more information on an annual skin exam, make an appointment today with Dermatology Treatment and Research Center in Dallas, TX. We offer the latest treatment technologies and years of experience combined with compassion and friendliness.
Why Are Skin Checks So Important
To truly understand why so many experts recommend skin checks , Dr. Orit Markowitz, a board-certified dermatologist and skin cancer specialist, recommends reviewing the alarming statistics.
âEvery year, you’re more likely to find a skin cancer than you are to find breast, colon, lung, and prostate combined, so it’s a very common type of cancer,â Dr. Markowitz says.
Skin cancer also does not discriminate, so even if you have more melanin and a darker skin tone, you are still susceptible. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology notes that skin cancer is frequently diagnosed later for people of color, which often means itâs at a later stage once it is finally found and that the cancer is harder to treat . When it comes to melanoma specifically, Dr. Henry says the five-year survival rate for a person of color is around 65% while a white personâs five-year survival rate is above 90% âThat’s a stark contrast and a reason why we want to drive home the fact that no one is immune to melanoma and that we really need to protect ourselves,â Dr. Henry says.
Skin cancer can also present a little differently on darker skin tones. For example, Dr. Markowitz says that very early lesions can look like blackheads on darker skin tones. As the Skin Cancer Foundation explains, basal cell carcinomas may be pigmented on darker skin tones, as opposed to pearly, clear, pink, red, or white on lighter skin.
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What Is An Annual Skin Screening
Your dermatologist will examine your skin from head to toe, and if any unusual spots are seen, they can be examined with a dermatoscope- a special tool that makes it easier to get a magnified, detailed look at these spots.
Your dermatologist may also make a note of a suspicious spot so it can be monitored over time. Photos may be taken so this skin exam can be compared with the next one. Your doctor may also want to take a small tissue sample of the lesion to send to a lab for testing.
Abcde Melanoma Detection Guide
A is for Asymmetry
Look for spots that lack symmetry. That is, if a line was drawn through the middle, the two sides would not match up.
B is for Border
A spot with a spreading or irregular edge .
C is for Colour
Blotchy spots with a number of colours such as black, blue, red, white and/or grey.
D is for Diameter
Look for spots that are getting bigger.
E is for Evolving
Spots that are changing and growing.
These are some changes to look out for when checking your skin for signs of any cancer:
- New moles.
- Moles that increases in size.
- An outline of a mole that becomes notched.
- A spot that changes colour from brown to black or is varied.
- A spot that becomes raised or develops a lump within it.
- The surface of a mole becoming rough, scaly or ulcerated.
- Moles that itch or tingle.
- Moles that bleed or weep.
- Spots that look different from the others.
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What Causes Skin Cancer
More than 95% of skin cancers are directly related to exposure to UV radiation. UV radiation most often comes from the sun, but it can also come from artificial sources such as solariums.
When your unprotected skin is exposed to the sun or other UV radiation, the structure and behaviour of your skin cells can change. This can permanently damage the skin, and this damage adds up over time.
The good news is it is never too late to start protecting your skin! The best way to avoid skin cancer is by regularly protecting your skin from UV. Every day you protect your skin, you reduce your risk.
How Can I Schedule My Skin Cancer Screening
Scheduling a skin cancer screening is easy at Kentucky Skin Cancer Center. A member of our caring team will give you instructions on how to prepare for your visit.
Contact the Kentucky Skin Cancer Center location nearest you or book online now and get a skin cancer screening and keep your skin healthy for years to come!
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What Causes This Type Of Cancer
There are several potential causes of melanoma. However, 86 out of 100 times, melanoma is caused by solar rays. Solar rays can cause cancer because they damage the DNA of your cells. When your cells DNA changes, its growth mechanisms change.
Note, however, that any ultraviolet rays can affect your skin cells DNA eventually. In fact, the World Health Organization declared tanning beds a carcinogen. Tanning beds may be the cause of over 6,000 melanoma cases in the country every year.
How Often Should I Get A Skin Cancer Screening
Dr. Perris interest in dermatology began when an early diagnosis of Melanoma saved his fathers life. Since then, Dr. Perri has helped thousands of patients perform skin cancer screenings, and treat skin cancers including Melanoma, Basal Cell, and Squamous Cell. Whether you have risk factors for skin cancer such as a family history of skin cancer or not, Dr. Perri recommends all residents perform regular skin checks and come in annually for a skin cancer screening.
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How Often Should You See A Dermatologist
Its recommended that you get skin cancer screenings at least once a year, especially if you know that youre at an increased risk of skin cancer.
You may want to do a skin cancer screening during a yearly physical exam so that you can maintain a strong awareness of your overall health.
If youre concerned about anything new prior to a yearly skin exam, make an appointment. If youve been diagnosed with a skin cancer such as basal or squamous cell, you should be seen every 6 months for the first few years following your diagnosis.
If you have been diagnosed with melanoma, youll need a total body skin exam every 3 months for several years.
- Limit your time in direct sunlight. Try to limit exposure from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the suns rays are the strongest.
- Wear protective clothing when youre outside. This can include a hat, long sleeves, and long pants along with sunglasses. For best results, look for clothing with UPF, which acts as sun protectant.
- Wear a mineral sunscreen that has a sun protection factor of 15 or more. Avoid chemical sunscreens that may contain ingredients that can increase your risk of other health issues. And remember to reapply sunscreen if youre out in the sun for more than 2 hours.
- Dont use indoor tanning equipment that exposes you directly to UV light. The more you tan, the more you damage your skin and
Heres a how-to guide for doing a thorough self-exam for skin cancer:
What Is My Skin Type
Skin types that are more sensitive to ultraviolet radiation burn more quickly and are at a greater risk of skin cancer.
All skin types can be damaged by too much UV radiation. Skin types that are more sensitive to UV radiation burn more quickly and are at a greater risk of skin cancer.
People with naturally very dark skin still need to take care in the sun even though they may rarely, if ever, get sunburnt. The larger amount of melanin in very dark skin provides natural protection from UV radiation. This means the risk of skin cancer is lower.
Eye damage can occur regardless of skin type. High levels of UV radiation have also been linked to harmful effects on the immune system.
Vitamin D deficiency may be a greater health concern for people with naturally very dark skin, as it is more difficult for people with this skin type to make vitamin D.
Spot The Cancer You Can See When Its Easiest To Treat
The worlds most common cancer is a relentless disease that strikes one in five people by age 70. The good news is that 99 percent of all cases are curable if they are diagnosed and treated early enough. But in order to stop skin cancer, we have to spot it on time.
Skin cancer is the cancer you can see. Unlike cancers that develop inside the body, skin cancers form on the outside and are usually visible. Thats why skin exams, both at home and with a dermatologist, are especially vital.
Early detection saves lives. Learning what to look for on your own skin gives you the power to detect cancer early when its easiest to cure, before it can become dangerous, disfiguring or deadly.
If You Have A Family History Of Skin Cancer
While the development of skin cancer isn’t necessarily always genetic, it’s important to pay attention to your family’s medical history. A history of skin cancer could mean that you’re more likely to develop skin cancer after a bad sunburn or as a result of irregular moles on your skin. In these cases, it’s best to see your doctor for a skin cancer screening at least once every year. At-home inspections of irregular moles and sun damaged skin are important to perform, as well. But ultimately, it’s vital that you leave skin cancer screenings to the professionals for an accurate skin cancer diagnosis.
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How Long Will My Exam Take
You can expect your skin evaluation to take approximately 10 minutes if you have never had cancer affect your skin cells and you dont have a history of atypical moles. During your exam, you will be asked to put on a medical gown. If you dont have any concerning spots on your genitalia, you will be allowed to wear your underwear, but you will need to remove the rest of your clothes before you don the gown.
Your full-body skin examination may take quite a bit longer than 10 minutes if you have a history of cancer affecting your skin or you have moles that may be malignant. If any spots look like they may be cancerous, we will biopsy them. In other words, we will remove all or a portion of the suspicious lesions and have them tested for cancer. If the spots are cancerous, we will advise you on what type of cancer you have and what the next steps are.
Take Matters Into Your Own Hands With Self
Regardless of how often you see your dermatologist, you should doyour best to monitor your own skin and that of your partner or close familymembers.
Grab a mirror and perform a skin exam of your own every three tosix months, Dr. Riley suggests.
Look for moles or spots that:
- Have changed in size, shape or color overtime.
- Bleed or do not heal after several weeks.
- Are asymmetrical or have irregular borders.
- Are larger than ¼ inch in size.
And, above all else, practice safe sun habits to prevent skin cancer from developing in the first place.
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Where Can You Find Free Skin Cancer Screenings
Organizations like the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery regularly provide free skin cancer screenings throughout the country. These screenings generally occur several times throughout the year and take place in clinics, outpatient centers, and even mobile units.
You can also contact hospitals and low-cost clinics near you to ask about upcoming free screening events in your area.
How Often Should You Get A Skin Cancer Screening
Almost 5 million people are treated for skin cancer every year in the United States. This disease is now the most common cancer diagnosis in our nation, but you can reduce your risk by forgoing the healthy radiance so many people work to achieve each summer. That glow is actually skin damage and paves the path to serious complications. Equally important, you should schedule regular skin cancer screening with Prizant Dermatology in Pittsburgh, PA.
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What Do The Results Mean
If a mole or other mark on your skin looks like it might be a sign of cancer, your provider will probably order another test, called a skin biopsy, to make a diagnosis. A skin biopsy is a procedure that removes a small sample of skin for testing. The skin sample is looked at under a microscope to check for cancer cells. If you are diagnosed with skin cancer, you can begin treatment. Finding and treating cancer early may help prevent the disease from spreading.
What Happens If They Find Something
If your doctor finds a spot that could be cancerous orpre-cancerous, theyll likely want to take a picture for your medical chart andperform a skin biopsy.
During a biopsy, the doctor will remove a small amount of tissueto be examined under a microscope by a pathologist. This is a simple procedurethat can be done right then and there, in the office. Theyll clean the area ofskin where the spot is located, numb it with an injection of anesthesia, anduse a blade or scalpel to take a sample of the skin. You shouldnt feel anypain, aside from the pinch from the injection.
That sample will be sent to the lab for testing, and your doctor willshare the results with you when they are available. This usually happens withina few days but could take up to a week or longer.
If the spot turns out to be cancerous, it may need to becompletely removed or treated with other methods, Dr. Riley says.
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How Often Should I Have My Moles Checked
Moles are very common and usually benign. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, most adults have at least a few moles that are typically harmless . However, certain types of moles and other factors, like family history, having had melanoma in the past, or having more than 50 moles, can increase your risk of developing skin cancer in the future. Monitoring moles for changes to the size, shape, texture, and color and checking for new growths is an important part of the skin cancer screening process. At Holladay Dermatology & Aesthetics, Dr. Robert Totham and our team of skincare specialists provide skin cancer screenings and a range of services for youthful, beautiful skin at our office in Holladay, Utah.