It is easy to assume that because you wear sunscreen and regularly check yourself for any new moles or growths, you are doing everything that you can to check for the early development of skin cancer. However, it is important to note that seeing your dermatologist for annual skin checks can find small growths that might otherwise go unnoticed. In addition, something as simple as having every inch of your skin checked for concerns, including your scalp, can have an enormous impact on your long-term health. If you have delayed screenings or biopsies due to discomfort or a lack of knowledge, it is important to understand the truth about how easy and reliable skin cancer screenings actually are.
#1-Skin Cancer Screenings Are Time-consuming And Expensive
One common misconception is that skin cancer screenings are usually biopsies. In fact, the only approved way to check for skin cancer, when a problem has not been noted, is an in-depth evaluation of the skin. If a problem, like the growth or development of a mole or even an odd wound that does not heal as expected, is noted; a biopsy may then be recommended. It is also important to note that you should discuss your risk factors for skin cancer with your doctor, as some low-risk individuals are not as likely to benefit from the skin evaluation.
#2-One Skin Cancer Screening Is (Not) As Good As The Next
Although personally examining your body on a regular basis for new skin changes is always a good idea, it is not a sufficient replacement for seeing the right doctor. With few exceptions, your primary care physician lacks the experience to accurately check everything effectively. In this instance, you should plan to see a dermatologist and that dermatologist is likely to want to inspect all of you.
Even the area between your toes and the skin on your head deserves a once-over, especially if you have not always been as careful about wearing a hat to protect your head when you are outside as you could have been.
#3-A Biopsy Does Not Have To Be Disfiguring
One common misconception that many people have about skin cancer is that they typically remove a lot of skin or create excess scarring. The truth is that by discovering any problem areas as soon as possible during their development, there is less area to excise during the biopsy. In fact, some biopsies are done by shaving or clipping some of the tissue and therefore, may not scar at all.
Unfortunately, it is not unusual for many of the more severely disfiguring scars from biopsies to appear as the result of waiting too long. Therefore, it is easy to see that there is no downside to checking with your doctor about any concern, as even a benign growth could grow to awkward proportions or need to be removed for aesthetic purposes.
In conclusion, skin cancer is a problem that has become increasingly common in recent years. It has needlessly claimed the lives of too many people and therefore, the above information about skin cancer screenings is essential for everyone to remember. Contact a dermatologist, like those at Vail Dermatology and similar locations, for more info.