Skin cancer screenings are critical in order to catch cancerous cells as early as possible. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer.
In this article on Shape.com, dermatologists offer useful tips and advice on how frequently you need to be screened for skin cancer. To arrange an appointment for your next skin cancer screening, contact Park Avenue Dermatology today.
What is a skin cancer screening?
During a skin cancer screening, your dermatologist will examine your face and body for moles or unusual skin changes that may signal pre-cancerous or cancerous growths.
Annual skin cancer screenings are important from the time you approach adulthood and continuing throughout your life. If you or a relative have a history of skin cancer, your dermatologist may recommend more frequent screenings.
There are three main types of skin cancer: melanoma, basal cell, and squamous cell. Basal cell carcinoma normally grows slowly. It is pink in color and sometimes has a pearly sheen.
Squamous cell carcinoma can be pink or red. It is often scaly in appearance and might seem like a sore that does not heal. Be on the alert for a mole that changes.
Melanoma is the most notorious skin cancer because it is often deadly if it spreads to other parts of the body. Early detection, combined with regular skin cancer screenings, avoiding excess sun exposure, and wearing adequate SPF are all important strategies to lower the risk of melanoma.
At Park Avenue Dermatology, we remind patients of the A, B, C, D, and E’s of melanoma:
A = Asymmetry of one side of the mole.
B = Border shape – irregular borders are warning signs.
C = Colors. Moles normally are one shade of brown. A melanoma often has a multi-shade brown, tan, and black tone, and as it progresses, red and even blue might appear.
D = Diameter. Look for a larger-than-normal mole around the size of a pencil eraser or greater.
E = Evolving. When a mole changes size, color, texture, or shape, contact your dermatologist immediately.
Dermatologists at Park Avenue Dermatology also stress patient awareness in detecting changes in moles. Call immediately for a screening or visit if you notice anything unusual.
The cure rate from melanoma when caught and treated early is about 95%. Having regular skin cancer screenings can make the difference in detecting and treating a cancer before it spreads, so make your annual skin cancer screening visit a priority.