Skin Cancer Screening
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, and it is becoming even more common. Over the last forty years, rates of skin cancer have increased by more than 200%, and they’re growing even faster among younger people. Fortunately, skin cancer is also one of the most treatable forms of cancer. With early detection and treatment, skin cancer can be effectively treated and cured.
Performing self examinations, paired with routine in-office skin cancer screenings is a necessary part of your regular health care regime. We recommend annual routine skin examinations for people who do not have a history of skin cancer. If you have had a non- melanoma skin cancer, we recommend having your skin checked by a dermatologist every six months. If there is a history of melanoma, we suggest more frequent skin examinations every three to four months. When you come in to our office for your routine skin examination, one of our practitioners will examine the skin over your entire body, looking for suspicious growths, moles, or lesions. The examination is performed using a bright light and a magnifying lens. The scalp is examined by parting the hair. A dermatoscope may be used to see spots on the skin more clearly. If a biopsy is performed, your results will typically come in within 3 to 7 days. You will receive a call from our office letting you know the results and your treatment options if necessary.
Perform regular self-examinations between visits with your dermatologist to become familiar with your skin. If you notice anything changing, growing or bleeding on your skin, make an appointment immediately for a full-body skin examination.
When performing a self-examination, remember your ABC’s and check the following:
Asymmetry: If one half of the mole appears unlike the other half.
Border: If the border of the mole is irregular, scalloped or poorly defined.
Color: If the color of the mole varies from one area to another; shades of tan and brown, black; sometimes white, red or blue.
Diameter: Melanomas are usually greater than 6mm which is comparable to the size of a pencil eraser.
Evolving: If a mole or a skin lesion looks different from the rest, or if it is changing in color, shape or size.
As part of a dermatological exam, your doctor will check your skin for bumps or spots that are unusual in color, size, shape or texture. If an abnormality is detected, a small skin sample is removed for lab testing. This biopsy is required to provide an accurate diagnosis.
The right treatment plan depends on many factors, including skin cancer type (basal cell, squamous cell, melanoma, etc.), size (smaller or larger mass), how far it has spread, location on the body, number of cancerous spots, and family and personal histories.
Once a diagnosis has been made, Riverchase Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery offers advanced treatment options for the treatment of skin cancer.