Whether you are someone who enjoyed lounging in the sun during their younger years or skin cancer runs in your family, there are many reasons why you should get an annual skin cancer screening. After all, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the US, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, with about one in five people developing skin cancer during their lifetime.
Skin cancer can take on many different forms such as:
- Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)
- Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)
- Actinic Keratosis (AK) (precancerous form)
While squamous and basal cell carcinomas are the most common forms of skin cancer, melanoma is the most dangerous type. This is why it is imperative that everyone schedules regular skin cancer exams. This ensures that if skin cancer is present, it is detected and treatment can begin as soon as possible. In addition to performing self-exams once a month, we recommend a visit to our office once a year so that one of our providers can perform a thorough exam.
Exams are non-invasive, painless and only take a few minutes to complete. The exam will encompass your entire body. We will thoroughly inspect every area of skin (even between your toes) to look for suspicious growths or moles.
Everyone should undergo a skin cancer exam even if you are not experiencing symptoms. It’s particularly important that you come in for routine exams if you have any risk factors for skin cancer:
- Excessive sun exposure
- Past sunburns
- The use of tanning beds
- Not wearing sunscreen regularly
- Fair skin
- Having many moles
- Exposure to radiation
- Family history of skin cancer
- A weakened immune system
If you have any of the above risk factors, it is important that you not only share them with your dermatologist during your next visit but that you also find out how often you should come in for routine screenings. Patients with risk factors may need to come in more often. If you notice any new or changing moles you should schedule an exam with us as soon as possible.
Want more information about skin cancer treatment options from Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Diseases? Contact our Sandy Springs, GA office at (404) 252-4333 to learn more. We also have offices in Roswell, Alpharetta, and Cumming, GA.