Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. It is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Sun damage to the skin is cumulative over a person’s lifetime, so the average risk of skin cancer also increases as our life expectancy gets longer.
Just as you schedule your annual physical or trip to the dentist, it is important to conduct a self-examination of your skin each month and schedule a professional skin examination once a year with your dermatology provider. Skin cancer is a treatable condition, but early detection is key and vitally important to be checked by a Dermatology provider who has special training in the detection of skin cancer.
We can help! Book your appointment today! www.pinnacleskin.com or call 815-744-8554.
Skin self-examinations should be performed monthly.
Skin self-exams could reduce the risk of advanced disease among melanoma patients and potentially decrease melanoma mortality by up to 63 % as quoted in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Skin exams conducted by physicians and dermatologists are also incredibly effective because they are typically identified at an earlier stage.
Skin self-examinations should be performed monthly but if something irregular is found, you should consult with your dermatologist immediately.
Examining your skin means taking note of all the spots on your body including moles, freckles and age spots. A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color should always be noted. Here are some tips:
- Examine your body front to back in a mirror, then your right and left sides, arms raised.
- Examine the back of your neck and scalp with a hand mirror. Part hair for a closer look at your scalp.
- Bend your elbows, look carefully at your forearms, the backs of your upper arms and palms.
- Check your back and buttocks with a hand mirror.
- Finally, look at the backs of your legs and feet, as well as the spaces between your toes and your soles.
Even if you do not find any irregularities on your own, you should schedule a skin examination with your dermatology provider at least once a year. Just like an annual dental exam, an annual skin exam ensures that you are catching any dermatology problems in their earliest stages.
If you have a history of skin cancer or a high number of moles, it is important to see a dermatology provider more frequently than once a year.
Dermatologists have special training that includes the diagnosis and management of skin cancers. They are trained to find spots that you may have overlooked during your own examination.
What happens when you come to a Pinnacle Dermatology office?
Your annual skin examination with your dermatology provider will take about 15 minutes, and you should mention any areas of concern.
This is also a good time to review options available to you at our offices. Even if your skin looks great, we can provide many additional cosmetic services to suit your needs.
We look forward to seeing you at one of our offices, book today! www.pinnacleskin.com or call 815-744-8554.