Why Skin Cancer Screenings are Key to Early Detection
Skin cancer screenings can be life changing and life saving. They can be life changing because they can put your mind at ease when determining if you may have cancer. They can be lifesaving because they can detect cancer and get you on the path to immediate treatment. The dermatologists at Mohs Dermatology & Surgery Institute can help with skin cancer screenings, in addition to diagnosis and treatment, if needed. Learn more below about skin cancer screenings and their importance.
The Importance of Skin Cancer Screenings
A skin cancer screening can be done by yourself in your home or by a dermatologist in their office. Some choose a self-exam and follow it up with a screening by a dermatologist just to confirm their findings or lack thereof. Others choose just a self-exam and still others choose to only have the dermatologist provide the screening. Neither way is wrong, but a dermatologist can help confirm or deny any suspicions you may have.
Whichever way you choose, the screening process is very similar. During a screening, you and your doctor are looking for irregular moles, birthmarks or other unique marks on the body that could be a potential sign of cancer. Lumps in the breasts will also be looked for. Aside from these specific signs, some individuals are at higher risks of cancer than others and are encouraged to have skin cancer screening. Those who may be at a higher risk have:
- Light colored eyes or a light skin tone
- Blonde or red hair
- Easily sunburned skin
- Many moles
- Family history of skin cancer
These describe just a few at-risk individuals. You can still get cancer without these traits which is why it is encouraged to always have a screening just to be sure.
Next Steps After a Screening
After a screening takes place, you will either be free to go because nothing was found or next steps will need to be taken because something potentially cancerous was noticed. If this is the case, a biopsy will be done to determine whether or not you have skin cancer. If it is cancer, it is likely melanoma, the most common form of skin cancer, but one of the more easily treated cancers.
Melanoma is treated by Mohs Micrographic Surgery. During Mohs, the affected mole and skin are removed and then tested for cancer. This process continues until no cancer is detected. It is also performed on all moles that came back cancerous. It is a safe, quick and easy surgery that requires little downtime.
Skin cancer screenings can truly mean life or death for many people. It is recommended as you age to have yearly skin cancer screenings. If you are ready to be checked and are in the Bloomington, Illinois or surrounding areas, contact us. The dermatologists at Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute are here to help provide your life-changing or life-saving cancer screening.