Skin cancer remains a major concern in the area of public health. Melanoma causes the vast majority, approximately 75%, of all deaths due to skin cancer. The disease can affect anyone, and it is the highest ranking cancer among young adults ages 25 to 29. Since the risk of dying from skin cancer increases proportionally to how deeply it spreads, early detection is key to surviving the disease.
Skin cancer can be detected by the naked eye, and patients can even discover it on their own. A combination of skin self-examination (SSE) and physician-directed total-body skin exams (TBSE), along with education and advocacy, are necessary components to detecting the disease and stopping it in its tracks. Due to the prevalence of skin cancer, it is crucial to know about the importance of annual skin cancer screenings and ways to protect yourself.
Symptoms of Skin Cancer
To increase skin self-detection rates, it is imperative to understand some of the signs and symptoms of skin cancer. You can use the letters ABCDE to help you remember what to look for. These letters stand for asymmetry, border irregularity, color variation, diameter greater than six millimeters and evolving.
The term “evolving” may require a bit of an explanation. A mole or skin lesion that changes in appearance is elevated or is causing such symptoms as pain and itching should be examined as a precautionary measure. In addition, any spot or mark on your skin that particularly stands out from the rest could be worth a look. While physicians are trained to detect signs of possible problems, it’s always helpful for patients to alert them if an irregularity is noticed. You know your body best.
Who Should Get Annual Skin Cancer Screenings?
It’s wise for all patients to be routinely screened for melanoma. However, there are certain groups who may be more at risk than others and should be screened more vigilantly. Certainly, if you have ever experienced any type of skin cancer in the past, it is imperative that you continue to have annual skin cancer screenings.
Those with two or more blood relatives who have been diagnosed with skin cancer in the past are also more at risk and are candidates for lifelong regular screenings. If you have a number of moles with atypical appearance, it’s a good idea for our doctor to keep an eye on them.
Finally, anyone with pre-cancerous skin lesions, known as actinic keratosis, definitely needs to be examined and monitored on a routine basis. These lesions are scaly patches of skin that are gray or pinkish in color and appear on any area of the body that receives sun exposure.
Schedule Your Skin Cancer Screening Today
Due to the high correlation between early detection and positive outcome, it just makes sense to be on the lookout for signs of skin irregularity. The importance of annual skin cancer screenings cannot be overemphasized, as these screenings could save your life. With locations in Paragould and Poplar Bluff, The Dermatology Office proudly offers annual skin cancer screenings. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.