YES! Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. It is also one of the easiest to cure if caught early. Your skin is the largest organ of your body and seeing a dermatologist once a year should be a high priority in your overall health care.
What is Skin Cancer?
As you may have read in last month’s blog, What Does Skin Cancer Look Like?, the term “skin cancer” refers to three different conditions: basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and melanoma. Basal and squamous cell carcinoma are the most common types of skin cancer and they make up more than 98% of all cases of skin cancer. They are rarely life-threatening, but can be locally destructive to tissues. Melanoma is generally the most serious form of cancer because it can metastasize (or spread) throughout your body quickly. According to the CDC, in 2016, about 76,400 adults in the United States developed melanoma and approximately 10,100 will die from the disease. One person dies every hour from malignant melanoma.
Like many cancers, the risks increase with age and factors, like: skin, hair and eye color, history of sun exposure and tanning beds and family history. Skin cancer of any type occurs more commonly in men than in women.
The American Cancer Society recommends every individual perform a head-to-toe self-examination of the skin once a month. Before you add that to your health routine, it’s important to establish a base for tracking changes with your dermatologist during a Preventative Screening.
Preventive Screenings take less than 15 minutes and you can find out what to expect during an actual screening here.
Dermatologist use the A B C D E formula to assess skin lesions:
- Asymmetry: one half of the mole does not match the other
- Border irregularity: the borders of a mole are ragged or blurred
- Color: the color of a mole is not uniform
- Diameter: more than ¼ inch (the size of a pencil eraser)
- Evolving: the mole is changing over time
Now that you are armed with a professional baseline, you can perform self-checks on your own! It should be done often enough that you notice changes, aim for the first day or last day of every month. You should conduct your self-examination in a well-lit room, with a full-length mirror and a handheld one for those tough to see areas.
Be sure to visit your dermatologist if you notice any changes before your next yearly checkup. If you’ve never had a Preventative Screening, this February at Trillium Creek Dermatology, there are no out-of-pocket expenses and the entire skin screening exam takes only 15 minutes. Those 15 minutes may save your life! Schedule your Preventative Skin Screening today! Call: 330.725.0569
About Trillium Creek Dermatology and Surgery Center: Few places in the country offer the quality care, innovation and state-of-the-art procedures that are available at Trillium Creek. Through our integrative medicine approach, Trillium offers world-class general dermatology, dermatologic surgery, laser surgery, cosmetic dermatology, skin cancer treatment, Mohs surgery and holistic medicine.