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Why You Should Get Screened for Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer and catching it early can make a difference in treatment and recovery. Some individuals are at higher risks of contracting it, but regular screenings are useful for everyone. Primary care physicians and dermatologists can perform the examination. Skin cancer is the one you can see. Visiting your doctor if you notice any abnormal change to your skin can also help detect this cancer early.

Risk Factors

Risk factors for skin cancer include:

  • Red or blond hair
  • Fair skin
  • Freckles
  • Blue or light-colored eyes
  • A large number of moles
  • Family history of melanoma
  • Previous basal cell and/or squamous cell skin cancers
  • Blistering sunburns
  • Previous use of tanning beds

If you’re at greater risk for skin cancer, your doctor may recommend an annual screening exam. Conducting a visual self-checkup once a month also helps catch specific changes to your skin. During one of your professional examinations, your provider can teach you how to recognize the warning signs of skin cancer.

Screening Process

The screening usually takes 10 to 15 minutes. Avoid wearing makeup or nail polish when attending your appointment. Keeping your hair loose also helps your doctor to examine your scalp more easily.

For the examination, you will need to remove all your clothing but can wear a gown. Your healthcare professional will perform a full-body examination because skin cancer can appear anywhere on your skin. They may also use a magnifying glass to have a closer look at certain moles or discoloration.

Your dermatologist will examine the “ABCDEs” of each mole:

  • Asymmetry
  • Border irregularity
  • Color
  • Diameter
  • Evolving

This checkup helps to rule out any harmless moles and point out those that may be dangerous. If your doctor finds anything concerning, they can recommend a biopsy for safety. Even if the biopsy reveals cancerous moles, knowing early is very important. Your provider can then help you get appropriate treatment.

Contact Advanced Dermatology Center today at (818) 284-4003 to schedule an appointment.