Your Annual Skin Cancer Detection Guide
When was the last time you had a full-body skin examination by your dermatologist? According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, annual body checks for adults over the age of 19 are essential to detecting early signs of skin cancer. While sun damage may not be something you think about during the cooler winter months, changes in moles, spots or freckles can happen year round. Catching abnormalities early can mean a higher chance of curability if they turn out to be cancerous or precancerous.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancers, but it is also one of the easiest forms to diagnose and may be completely curable if caught early. If left untreated, however, skin cancer can be deadly. Melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer, is life-threatening, which is why seeing your local California Skin Institute dermatologist for a yearly exam is crucial.
Even people who apply sunscreen daily, or have darker complexions may still be at risk and should be checked regularly.
Here is a guide to preparing for your annual skin check exam:
- Place a recurring skin check reminder on your calendar or in your smartphone for yourself and other members of your family to be sure you see your dermatologist at California Skin Institute annually.
- Book your appointment at the start of each new year so you will always remember.
- Perform full-body self-checks once a month. Carefully look over your entire body for changes or abnormalities. Don’t forget to check all around your scalp, between fingers and between toes. If you notice any changes in moles or other growths, contact your California Skin Institute provider for an appointment right away.
- Take off all nail polish prior to seeing your dermatologist, as skin cancer can sometimes occur under fingernails.
At California Skin Institute, our experienced dermatologists are vigilant about skin cancer screenings. If skin cancer is detected, California Skin Institute providers are experts in a variety of treatments, including Mohs micrographic surgery, the most advanced and precise treatment for skin cancer. With a high cure rate, Mohs is currently the most effective treatment for skin cancer. It involves surgically removing skin layer by layer and examining the tissue under a microscope until cancer-free tissue is reached.
With the right approach, skin cancer treatment can offer minimal scarring and most importantly, an extremely high cure rate.
If it has been more than a year since your last full-body skin check, or if you’ve noticed any changes in size or shape of moles or freckles, schedule an appointment with your local California Skin Institute office today. Start this new year off right!
Individual results may vary and are not guaranteed.