About Skin Cancer Screenings
The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that 20% of Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. The high incidence of skin cancer means routine screenings are crucial, particularly when you have a family or personal history of skin cancer. Detecting skin cancer early is essential to provide you more treatment choices and improved results. As well as providing many innovative skin cancer procedures, board-certified dermatologist Rachel Day, M.D. offers complete skin cancer exams and biopsies of abnormal growths. To schedule a skin cancer exam, contact OneSkin Dermatology in Chambersburg, PA today.
Types of Skin Cancer
Dr. Day searches for four kinds of skin cancer in a skin cancer exam:
- Actinic Keratoses (AK): This kind typically forms in patients over the age of 40 and around regions of the skin that were exposed to sunlight — like the head, throat, hands, and arms. AKs look like scaly, dry spots and are generally deemed precancerous since they have the capability to become squamous cell carcinoma.
- Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC): This is the most common kind of skin cancer. BCC can develop anywhere on your skin and might look like a pink spot or a pearl-sized, flesh-colored bulge. BCC has to be treated since it has the potential to spread to the bones and nerves, resulting in disfigurements and damage.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC): This type is the second most common kind of skin cancer. SCC develops on skin that gets the most UV exposure and looks like scaly spots; firm, red lumps; and/or sores that frequently reopen. All of these need to be eliminated to reduce disfigurement and minimize damage.
- Melanoma: This kind of cancer grows unexpectedly as a dark area of the skin. Dr. Day uses the ABCD test to identify melanoma — Asymmetry, Border, Color, and Diameter. Based on information from the Skin Cancer Foundation, melanoma accounts for just 1% of skin cancer, but it causes most skin cancer deaths. For this reason, melanoma needs to be treated quickly once it's diagnosed.
Individuals of all ages can have skin cancer. While those with lighter complexions are at higher risk, all skin types and tones can get skin cancer. Dr. Day recommends every patient do routine self-checks of their skin so they know what's there and if anything changes. You should schedule a skin cancer screening whenever you're worried that an area on your skin has changed, bleeds, or itches. If you or a close relative has or had skin cancer, then you may want to schedule yearly skin exams.
How to prepare
At your skin exam, Dr. Day will check your whole body for moles, birthmarks, and any other abnormal growths. She can produce a map of spots to indicate regions of concern and also to quickly identify new spots at future checks. Dr. Day will explain to you how you can perform a self-exam in between your visits.
Sometimes, Dr. Day might recommend a biopsy of a suspicious area. She will numb the skin, then shave a little sample. The sample will be mailed to a pathology laboratory for evaluation. After Dr. Day gets the pathology report, you'll be contacted with the results.
What to Expect
Your exam is a comprehensive evaluation of all of your skin, hair, and nails. Following your examination, Dr. Day will speak with you about your skin and make recommendations. She will also tell you when you need to come back for your next skin exam.
Should you require a biopsy of a strange spot, there's a chance of scarring. Dr. Day will do her best to minimize the incision and remove the thinnest skin sample possible. Dr. Day will discuss the best method to take care of your skin following the biopsy to help your skin heal properly. With good maintenance, the incision should fade so it's hardly visible.
Plan Your Service
Early Detection is the Key
Knowing your risk factors and early detection are two major keys to the effective treatment of skin cancer. If you're due to get an annual skin exam, contact OneSkin Dermatology in Chambersburg, PA. Whether you're already visiting Dr. Day for other treatments, are at an elevated risk for skin cancer, or are worried about a strange growth on your skin, schedule a skin cancer exam at OneSkin Dermatology today.