According to the American Cancer Society, the survival rate for someone who is diagnosed with skin cancer in the first stage can be as high as 97 percent. The survival rate decreases as it progresses. Therefore, it is important that the disease is detected in its earliest stages. To help you with early detection, here is what you need to know:
Who Is at Risk?
Anyone can develop skin cancer, but there are groups of people who are at a greater risk of developing the disease. For instance, if you have red hair and freckles or a family history of skin cancer, you are at a greater risk. The risk also increases for people who have genetic syndromes that increase their sun sensitivity.
Your environment can also play a role in whether you develop skin cancer. Exposure to too much sun or frequent tanning sessions could increase your risk. Each time you experience a sunburn your risk also increases.
If you have been previously treated for cancer or underwent immunosuppressive treatment, you need to be extra vigilant about watching for the signs of skin cancer.
What Should You Look For?
Ideally, you should be performing monthly checks of your skin at home. Not only will this help you become more familiar with your skin, but it will help you detect any changes sooner rather than later.
When examining your skin, always ensure there is plenty of light and use a hand mirror to see every area. During the visual inspection, look for new moles that appear to be different than other moles you have.
You should also make note of any sores that are not healing or changes to moles that you already have. For instance, if a mole has grown in size or color, it should be examined.
What to Expect at a Skin Cancer Screening?
If you notice any changes to your skin, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist immediately. During the examination, he or she will use a lighted magnifying glass to visually check your skin.
It is important that you show up to your appointment with clean, bare skin. Products, such as makeup, could cover up the area the doctor needs to examine. If you have had skin issues in the past, let the dermatologist know during the discussion of your family history.
If you have an increased risk for skin cancer, your dermatologist will likely recommend routine skin cancer screenings. He or she will decide the frequency of the examinations.Share
6 July 2017
While I wasn't fond the reason I had to visit a dermatologist when I was a teenager (I had severe acne that she helped me manage), I feel lucky to have had the experience of visiting a dermatologist and learning just what they can do to help me have great-looking skin. I wasn't happy when I got my first wrinkle at about 30; my acne had just cleared up, and I wanted to enjoy having skin I finally loved for at least a few years! With a little more help from my dermatologist, I am now in my 50s, and many people think I am much younger than I am due to the amazing anti-aging treatments my dermatologist gives me. I want to teach what I have learned about skincare to others who need the advice, so please come back often for new skincare tips!