Posts for tag: Skin Exams
What should I expect from a skin cancer screening?
There is nothing uncomfortable, painful, or invasive about a skin cancer screening. This can be a relief to know and may even make someone more likely to come in for the screening they need. A skin cancer screening involves a simple, non-invasive visual examination that is performed by a qualified dermatologist. Your skin doctor will examine all growths, moles, and birthmarks to check for any changes in shape, color, size, or texture that could be warning signs of cancer.
Just as with any health screening, a skin cancer screening can help your dermatologist detect skin cancer during the very early stages when it’s highly treatable. If your dermatologist does detect a suspicious growth, they may recommend a biopsy. A biopsy simply means that your dermatologist will remove a small amount of tissue from the area to test for cancer cells.
Who should get a skin cancer screening?
Everyone can benefit from a skin cancer screening; however, certain risk factors can increase your odds of developing skin cancer over your lifetime. It’s important to know your risk level so you can talk with your dermatologist about how often you should come in for screenings. Those at increased risk may need to come in more than once a year. These risk factors include,
- Being fair-skinned
- Having blonde or red hair
- Light eyes
- Skin that burns or freckles easily
- A history of sunburns
- Family history of skin cancer
- Extensive sun exposure (e.g. working outdoors)
Skin cancer is a concern for patients who are overexposed to the sun’s rays and who have a family history of this condition. Learn why regular skin exams are extremely important if you are at risk of skin cancer. You can have your skin checked by our Honolulu, HI, dermatologists - Dr. Kevin Dawson, Dr. Douglas Chun and Dr. Sarah Grekin at Dawson Dermatology.
Skin Cancer Risks
If you are a patient who is at a higher risk of developing skin cancer, regular skin exams are very important. These are some of the factors that may increase the risk of skin cancer:
- Pale or light skin.
- Spending several hours per day in the sun (whether for leisure or work).
- A family history of skin disease.
- A previous diagnosis.
What Happens At a Skin Exam?
At an in-office skin exam, your Honolulu dermatologist will take a close look at all areas of the body that are most often exposed the sun, including the arms, face, back, and legs. There are five indicators that doctors look at (ABCDE) when diagnosing skin cancer:
- Asymmetry of the spot or mole.
- Border irregularity.
- Color varies (i.e. different shades of brown and black).
- Diameter (a mole shouldn’t be larger than a pencil eraser).
- Evolving (the spot is changing).
If you notice any abnormalities, point them out to your dermatologist immediately at the skin exam. Also, if a lesion suddenly starts to bleed or become infected, that is an urgent concern to bring to your doctor.
Importance of These Exams
Because this type of cancer is easy to detect with the naked eye, it is often successfully caught and treated in its early stages. Early detection with regular skin exams saves lives and minimizes the need for invasive treatments.
Schedule an Appointment to Check Your Skin
Get your skin checked by a dermatologist at Dawson Dermatology in Honolulu, HI. Call 808-599-3780 today to schedule an examination.