Skin cancer is surprisingly common. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans will get it at some point in their lives. Melanoma is the most deadly type of skin cancer. When caught early, Melanoma has a 5-year survival rate of 97%. If it grows and spreads at Stage 4, it has a 5-year survival rate of just 15-20%. Fortunately, catching Melanoma early is often very possible. In addition to at-home checks, schedule a yearly skin cancer exam. This exam can help you find skin cancer before it spreads.
Do I Really Need a Yearly Skin Exam?
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a yearly skin examination. This applies to everyone, regardless of your skin color or age. Come in and get your skin checked. If it has been more than a year, you do need to get an exam.
How Common Is Skin Cancer?
Despite the frequency of skin cancer, there is some good news—skin cancer is often something other than Melanoma. Melanoma is just one type of skin cancer. Let’s take a quick look at the three most common skin cancers.
- Basal Cell Carcinoma- The most common skin cancer in Caucasians and Hispanics, Basal Cell Carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that originates in the basal cells—the cells that are responsible for producing new skin cells. Approximately 8 out 10 skin cancers are Basal Cell. It rarely spreads to organs, but can be disfiguring if left untreated.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma- Squamous Cell Carcinoma, or Squamous Cell Cancer, is the second most common type of skin cancer. It occurs in about 2 out of 10 cases. This type of cancer is more likely to spread than basal cells, although it is still not very common.
- Malignant Melanoma- Melanoma is a type of cancer that starts in the melanocytes—the cells that produce pigment in the skin. This type of cancer isn’t common but, if you do have it, it is likely to spread. Early detection is an important preventative tool for Melanoma.
There are other types of skin cancer as well, although they aren’t very common.
What Should I Expect from My Skin Cancer Exam?
Many patients are nervous before their first annual skin check, but they shouldn’t be. The process is relatively quick and easy. During your exam, your doctor will examine you from head to toe, looking for any areas of abnormal skin. If a problem is found, we’ll discuss your treatment options.
Call today and schedule your yearly exam.