Skin cancer can often be completely eradicated with early treatment. However, some forms of skin cancer are more aggressive than others, and untreated skin cancer can be life-threatening. Dermatologists can perform skin cancer screenings that can detect skin cancer as soon as possible. Here are four signs that you should get a skin cancer examination:
1. Someone in your family has had skin cancer.
Some people are more likely to develop skin cancer due to their genes. Your family's history of skin cancer is a good indicator of your own personal risk. If someone in your family has been diagnosed with skin cancer or precancer in the past, it's especially important that you have your skin regularly checked by a dermatologist.
2. You notice a sore that won't heal.
It's normal to get small scrapes and cuts as you go about your daily life. Most of these cuts heal in a few days. If you notice sores that linger and won't seem to heal, you may actually be noticing the signs of skin cancer. It's important that you have unusual skin lesions and wounds examined by a dermatologist to rule out the possibility of cancer.
3. Your moles or birthmarks are changing.
Some people have moles or birthmarks on their bodies. These areas of pigmentation are often nothing to worry about. However, if you find that a mole, birthmark, or freckle has changed in appearance, you should get tested for skin cancer. Moles are more likely to be cancerous if they are larger in diameter than a pencil eraser or if they have an asymmetrical border and uneven color. Self-examination can help you keep tabs on your body over time, allowing you to notice changes that may warrant a closer look by a dermatologist.
4. You would like additional peace of mind.
Having your skin examined for skin cancer can give you peace of mind. Annual exams allow your dermatologist to find areas of concern as soon as possible. Professional skin cancer screening can supplement your regular self-checks. If you're ready to make an appointment with a dermatologist, you can ask your general practitioner for a referral.
Skin cancer screening can be lifesaving. If your dermatologist finds any areas of concern during your skin cancer check, they may decide to proceed with a skin biopsy. Skin biopsies are painless and nothing to be concerned about. Early detection will give you the best possible prognosis for skin cancer.