At Skin Smart, we’re devoted to promoting healthy skin care practices. One of the most essential elements of any skin care regimen is an annual skin cancer screening.
In a new article in the Bucks County Women’s Journal, our own Jennifer Filip, PA-C, explores the importance of yearly skin exams to detect melanoma in its early stages, when it is highly curable. As the article describes, this very simple outpatient screening can literally save lives.
Who Should Have a Skin Cancer Screening?
Some dermatologists have suggested annual skin cancer screenings as early as age 20 for all individuals. Annual screenings are even more important for people with a higher risk of skin cancer:
“That includes people with significant past sun exposure and a history of multiple and/or severe sunburns. In addition, anyone with numerous moles, moles determined by biopsy to be atypical, a family history of melanoma, and a history of tanning/tanning bed use should be evaluated every 6 to 12 months.”
How Can a Skin Cancer Screening Help Me?
While a skin cancer screening cannot prevent skin cancer, it can provide early detection. As with any cancer, the earlier melanoma is detected, the more successful a course of treatment can be. In fact, the 5-year survival rate is 98% among those detected before the skin cancer has a chance to spread.
What Happens During a Skin Cancer Screening?
During a skin cancer screening, your preference of a male or female dermatologist will perform a scalp-to-toe skin check. A typical screening takes 10 to 15 minutes and includes personalized skin health education.
Let’s face it: The possibility that a doctor could detect cancer during a screening is scary, but this early detection is critical. Protect your health by arming yourself with knowledge of the best ways to protect your skin.