Advantages of Skin Care Screenings and What to Expect
In the United States, skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer, with an estimated one in five Americans facing the disease during their lifetime. As frequent as skin cancer is, it’s also one of the most treatable cancers – especially when it’s found early. That’s why it’s so important to stay on top of your skin health and schedule regular screenings with the experts at Dermatology Associates. Here’s a closer look at why you should do so and what to expect during your appointment.
Catching Early Stage Cancer and More
During a preventative skin care screening, your dermatologist will first and foremost examine your skin for any signs of cancer and other problematic conditions. As roughly 9,500 Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer daily, regular screenings enable your dermatologist to detect the beginnings of various types of the disease, which include:
- Basal cell carcinoma: Forming in the skin’s basal cells, this slow-growing skin cancer typically presents as an irregular bump on the skin, and in some cases, as a flat, scaly patch.
- Squamous cell carcinoma: The second most common form of skin cancer, it often occurs in areas that have been damaged by the sun. It starts as an irregular bump or scaly patch of skin that becomes itchy, painful, crusty, and/or rough over time.
- Melanoma: Though it accounts for less than 2% of all skin cancers, melanoma is by far the most aggressive and difficult to treat. It is marked by the growth of an irregular mole, which can be detected during your screening.
Peace of Mind
Aside from spotting skin cancer and other conditions as early as possible, these screenings also provide patients with peace of mind. For instance, if you have recently developed a rash that you’re concerned might be the start of skin cancer, a screening allows your dermatologist to determine whether it might be serious or something relatively minor. Your thorough examination will also indicate if a suspicious area of skin might become cancerous in the future. Whatever the case, your dermatologist will be able to prescribe you with any necessary medications and determine the root cause of any potential issues.
The Skin Care Screening Process
When you arrive for your skin care screening, the team at Dermatology Associates will provide you with a gown to change into. Then, we will review your medical history and ask you about any abnormalities you may be experiencing with your skin, such as moles or growths that are new, have changed in appearance over time, or present symptoms like itching and bleeding.
Then, the physical examination will take place. Your dermatologist will analyze every inch of your skin, including less-visible spots like the soles of your feet and scalp. Throughout, they will also look closely at each mole for main signs of skin cancer, which are known as the ABCDEs and include:
- Border irregularity
Any moles that concern your dermatologist will then be biopsied to determine whether or not they represent an early stage of skin cancer.
Better Safe than Sorry
Study after study has proven that skin cancer treatments are much more successful when the disease is caught in the earliest possible stage. This is also true when it comes to treating other problematic skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis. Therefore, receiving annual skin care screenings – especially if you are a higher risk for the disease – can go a long way in protecting your skin and overall health. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Dermatology Associates today.