Melanoma Monday: What To Expect During A Skin Cancer Check

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No more worrying about your skin screening. Read this, prepare yourself, and prevent getting cancer.

Unfortunately, 1 in 5 Americans will be affected by skin cancer, and more than 3.5 million new cases in 2 million people are diagnosed annually. There are various types of skin cancers that can affect people of all skin colors and types, including actinic keratoses (AK), basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and melanoma.

During a skin cancer screening, the dermatologist is looking for cancer before a person has any symptoms. With early detection and proper treatment, the cure rate for skin cancers is extremely high. By performing regular self-skin exams and getting yearly examinations by a dermatologist, you can spot the early signs of skin cancer and reverse the damage before complications arise.

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It is important to remember that skin cancer screening tests are paramount even when you have no cancer symptoms. Here’s everything you need to know about the procedure. 

WHO IS IT FOR? Anyone and everyone! No matter what type of skin you have, all of us should be getting regular skin cancer screenings to ensure skin is healthy and cancer-free.

WHAT DOES THE TREATMENT FEEL LIKE? In preparation for your skin cancer screening, you should remove all of your makeup as well as any nail polish. Your physician will check you from head-to-toe, and use a tool called a dermatoscope, when necessary, to better visualize your individual lesions. Some dermatologists use a diagnostic tool called Melafind to look at atypical moles because it can analyze beneath the surface of the skin and obtain hidden data from a mole as deep as 2.5mm. 

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HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE? Skin cancer screenings usually take approximately 10 minutes, but the more moles you have, the longer the exam.

WHAT ARE THE ANTICIPATED RESULTS? If any suspicious lesions are identified, your doctor will likely perform a skin biopsy, whereby the lesion is removed and then submitted to the laboratory to be examined by a dermatopathologist, or may encourage you to have more diagnostic tests done to find out if you have cancer.

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