Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, and approximately one in five Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime. Rates of skin cancers have also risen sharply over the past several decades. However, you can give yourself the best chance of an early diagnosis and successful treatment through a skin cancer screening.
Over 9,500 cases of skin cancer are diagnosed every day through physical screenings. If a form of skin cancer such as melanoma is caught early, the five-year survival rate is 99%, making successful treatment extremely likely. This rate may fall dramatically as the disease progresses, however, reaching 68% when it reaches the lymph nodes and 30% once it metastasizes to other organs.
In many cases, symptoms of skin cancer may occur in seemingly normal skin, with only a low percentage developing from existing moles. In other cases, symptoms may not present at all. This can make it difficult for you to spot signs of skin cancer on your own, and even more important to get screened by a dermatologist on a regular basis.
During a skin cancer screening, a dermatologist fully examines your skin from head to toe, checking for lesions or areas that appear abnormal. Irregular borders, multiple colors, and a size greater than six millimeters in diameter are a few of the indicators your doctor may look for, though these factors alone may not provide a sufficient basis for a diagnosis.
Your doctor may request a skin sample for a biopsy during your screening to examine certain skin cells more closely. Once your test results arrive, your doctor can provide a more definitive diagnosis.
It’s recommended that you get screened for skin cancer annually, or potentially more often if you’re at a high risk of developing it. You should also regularly check your own skin and take note of any marks or spots that appear different from their surrounding areas or cause sensations such as itching or pain. These spots should be pointed out to your doctor during a screening.
You can get a skin cancer screening at Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center. To schedule an appointment, please call 718-670-5486.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.