Although skin cancer is not the most discussed type of cancer, the risk is still very real. In fact, there are over 3 million cases of diagnosed skin cancer in the United States each year. Many of these cases involve people living in the southern part of the country – there’s a link between latitude and skin cancer! Therefore, as Georgia residents, the awareness and detection of skin cancer becomes even more important. When detected early, skin cancer is highly treatable. But it must be detected first!
The best way to detect skin cancer is by visiting your dermatologist for a professional skin cancer screening. How often should this occur? For the average patient, an annual screening is recommended. A skin cancer screening is painless and quick. It allows a skin specialists to examine any moles, markings or skin abnormalities that may indicate cancer. If you attend your screenings on a yearly basis, your physician can monitor and measure suspicious areas to ensure they aren’t changing or growing.
Doing Your Part
It is important to know that you shouldn’t wait for your annual screening to check for skin cancer. Take charge of your health and perform your own skin checks throughout the year. This can be done every 1 to 3 months and should include every inch of your skin, from head to toe. Since you can’t see your back or buttocks very well on your own, consider asking your spouse or loved one to help you out.
Not sure what to look for? First, check for marks or moles on your skin that appear flesh colored as well as other bumps or sores. The best method relies on knowing your ABC’s:
- A – Asymmetry: Are both sides similar or different?
- B – Border Irregularity: Is the border of the mark poorly defined or scalloped?
- C – Color: Does the color vary from one area to another?
- D – Diameter: Is the diameter greater than a pencil eraser size?
- E – Evolution: Is the mark evolving or changing from what it used to look like?
For more information about skin cancer or to schedule your annual skin cancer screening in Atlanta, call Olansky Dermatology Associates. We have what it takes to keep your skin healthy and beautiful through all stages of life.