The best way to maintain healthy skin is to always keep an eye on things. Having a good skincare routine doesn’t just mean using the best moisturizers or cleansers. It also means examining yourself for significant changes. When a shift occurs in your journey for healthier skin, you will be more likely to notice it. So, what happens if you find a conspicuous mole, for example? When confronted with such a situation, many people become panicked and immediately book an appointment with their dermatologist for skin cancer screening.
New moles or changes to old ones are one of the main reasons people get checked out for skin cancer. Finding other abnormalities like open sores, lesions, and strange dry patches of skin are also reasons people get checked out.
Early detection, understanding how often you should check for skin cancer, and knowing how to check for skin cancer should be top priorities in your skincare routine. An annual visit to your dermatologist to screen for potential skin cancers can help a great deal, as skin cancer is treatable if caught early enough.
Skin cancer is defined as the uncontrolled proliferation of abnormal cells in the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin, as a result of unrepaired DNA damage that causes mutations. These alterations cause the skin cells to grow rapidly, resulting in cancerous tumors.
Basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma, and Merkel cell carcinoma are the most common kinds of skin cancer.
Although the exact causes of cancer are unknown, scientists have discovered that the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation and the usage of UV tanning beds are the leading causes of skin cancer.
A skin cancer dermatologist may potentially detect a precancerous development before it develops into full-blown skin cancer or penetrates beyond the skin's surface.
When doing a skin cancer check, look for unusual patches, itches, or bleeding on your body. Using a full length mirror, examine your entire body from front to back, then gaze at your right and left sides with your arms outstretched. Bend your elbows and examine your forearms, underarms, and palms. Examine your legs and feet from behind, as well as the gaps between your toes and the soles of your feet.
Once a problematic spot is discovered during your full-body screening with your dermatologist, the doctor will examine the area, taking note of its size, shape, color, texture, and any bleeding or scaling. Your doctor may also perform a lymph node examination to determine if any lymph nodes in the area are swollen.
Dermatoscopy is a procedure in which a dermatologist examines a worrisome location with a special microscope or magnifying lens in order to inspect it more attentively. The skin cancer is excised at the dermatologist's office in many cases. If the skin cancer is melanoma or Merkel cell carcinoma, a dermatologist may recommend more aggressive treatment.
Skin cancer treatment varies depending on the type of cancer, its stage of development, and other factors. Tissue-sparing Mohs micrographic surgery, standard surgical excision, and cryosurgery to remove any surviving cells are the most prevalent treatments. Curettage, which utilizes a specific scraping instrument to remove the lesion followed by electrocautery to eliminate any residual cells, is usually performed after cryosurgery.
Whether you’re 20 or 60, it’s a good idea to get a skin cancer screening at least once a year. If you’re in the greater Cincinnati area, The Dermatology Group can help. Contact us today for your screening and to speak with a dermatologist about your skincare needs.