An annual skin cancer check is recommended for everyone, regardless of the colour of your skin or whetheryou spend more time indoors than outdoors. However, if you have a family history of skin cancer, or if you’ve had skin cancer in the past, getting a skin cancer check more frequently is important. While you can examine your skin on your own at home, a professional can provide an in-depth assessment of your skin. They’ll also know what to look for and can assess areas that you might not be able to see yourself. Read on to learn everything you need to know about skin cancer checks.
What Happens During a Skin Cancer Check?
When you come in for your skin cancer evaluation, you should mention any areas of concern that you’ve noticed. Your skin will then be comprehensively examined to search for any spots that look like they may be cancerous, or any trouble spots that could turn into something more serious over time. During your exam, your doctor will:
- Examine your skin from head to toe, including a close examination of your scalp
- Look for any moles that are irregular in shape
- Pay attention to a high number of moles or moles that have recently developed
- Check your body in private areas below the waist (optional)
What Could Indicate Skin Cancer?
Your doctorwill know exactly what to look for during a skin cancer check. Typical warning signs that you may have skin cancerinclude:
- Any sores on your skin that never heal
- Patches of skin that are scaly, rough and tend to bleed
- Moles that are larger than an eraser on a pencil, have irregular borders or are a strange blend of different colours
If you have any moles or spots on your skin that have changed over time, these are also cause for concern and should be discussed with your doctor.
Why Monitor Your Skin Over Time?
During your skin cancer check, your doctor will make note of any areas of concern. A biopsy may be necessary for anything that looks suspicious. In addition, photos of your bodywill be takento create a baseline for future visits. If you have any moles that need to be monitored over time, photos can help to provide a helpful comparison in the future. When you come in for your next visit, your doctor will be able to look for any changes that could indicate skin cancer, such as having more moles than you did last time. Think of your doctor as your partner in health, keeping a close eye on your skin.
The Importance of Regular Skin Cancer Checks
It’s vital that you make time each year for an annual skin cancer check. This is because an annual check allows your doctor to notice any concerns at the earliest stages. Skin cancer is treatable, especially when it’s diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. In the best case scenario, your skin cancer check will assure you that you have healthy skin. However, you should stillmake sure to protect your skin by wearing adequate sunscreen and protective clothing, as well as limiting exposure to the sun’s harmful UVB and UVA rays.