Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States and is also among the most survivable if caught before it has spread to other tissues. For this reason alone, catching skin cancer in its earliest stages is important. However, there are other benefits to early detection that cancer patients stand to gain. If you’ve been putting off your skin cancer screening appointment, you may want to consider these other benefits you may miss out on should you continue to delay.
Less Life Disruption
A cancer diagnosis of any kind can put your life into a tailspin. You’ll likely need to take time off from work for treatments and doctor’s appointments, you may need to start seeing an oncologist in addition to your primary care physician and, depending on the severity of your diagnosis, you may need to arrange medical leave from work. If you care for young children and treatments will make you tired, you may need to arrange for a babysitter or a daycare program. If you are diagnosed with skin cancer at a later stage, these issues only get larger and more pressing. Catching your cancer in its earliest stages may allow you to avoid lifestyle disruption as much as possible.
Possibly Less Treatment Needed
In general, early stage skin cancer requires less treatment to cure than larger, advanced cases. Not only does this have less of an impact on your lifestyle, but it also means your health will be impacted less by treatments. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments, while life-saving, have a long list of side effects that can impact your health for the rest of your life. They are also notorious for making you feel nauseated and exhausted. Catching a small cancer lesion before it spreads, however, may just require surgical excision and monitoring. Don’t put your body through harsh, long treatments because you procrastinated. Having a regular skin cancer screening can negate or lessen the need for the more aggressive measures.
Smaller Chance of Disfigurement
While some skin cancers can crop up anywhere, some varieties develop in areas that are exposed to a lot of sunlight, such as the face, scalp, neck, hands and shoulders. Unfortunately, these are also areas that others can see. While you should, of course, love yourself no matter what you look like, it can be emotionally exhausting to be disfigured by cancer treatment. Others may stare, point, laugh or ask you what happened. You may notice people shrinking from you as if your condition is contagious. By finding skin cancer in its earliest stages, you can avoid disfigurement.
Schedule Your Appointment Today
Catching skin cancer before it grows into a life-threatening condition is crucial to preserving your lifestyle, future health, and aesthetics. If it’s been a year or more since your last screening, make an appointment at Dr. Yeoman’s Dermatology Office in Poplar Bluff or Paragould.