Save the Date: Skin Cancer Screening

The arrival of a New Year drives many people to consider how they’re living, and to start building new and healthy habits. While making some changes can be challenging, and are often short-lived, some excellent new habits can be built that are very easy to follow. A new and smart habit can be found in scheduling an annual full-body skin exam, which offers immediate and long-term health benefits.

The physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers encourages everyone to add to their list of New Year’s resolutions setting up annual full body skin exams.  Most insurance plans cover these check ups, which ensure every year starts with a full awareness about any red flags that currently exist with your skin. The exams also provide an important baseline of information about your skin a dermatologist can reference when you see them next year.

According to research from the American Academy of Dermatology, skin cancer affects one out of every five Americans, and more than three and a half million new cases are diagnosed each year.  Living in Southern Nevada, with nearly 300 sunny days per year, offers additional risk factors that makes having skin checks even more important. An annual screening appointment is the best way to get started on a skin smart heath program.

Visiting a Dermatologist

Comprehensive Cancer Centers collaborates with dermatologists in the community, assisting when they identify anything unusual or abnormal in skin exams, by providing additional tests and oncology treatment, when necessary. Often, initial dermatology exams happen when patients become aware of something abnormal.  With with any illness or disease, such as cancer, early detection helps increase better outcomes with treatment, so annual screenings often catch problems long before patients identify them on their own.

By setting up an appointment initially with a dermatologist, patients get the most complete skin check up from the beginning of the process.  If challenges do present, a dermatologist can make a direct referral for a consultation with an oncologist, like members of the team at Comprehensive who specializes in skin cancer and melanoma diagnosis and treatment.

“For early detection and prevention, you should check your skin monthly for any new or changing blemishes, moles or marks. Any abnormality that persists or continues to change over time is worth noting,” said Dr. Wolfram Samlowski, an oncologist with Comprehensive Cancer Centers who specializes in skin cancers. “If you find anything suspicious, make an appointment with your doctor no matter how minor you perceive the change to be.”

Skin exams at a dermatologist’s office are more detailed, since dermatologists are specially trained in treating conditions that affect the skin.  In addition to cancer, there are more than 3,000 known diseases that are treated by dermatologist, including other conditions that may benefit from active treatment, such as acne, eczema and psoriasis.

Preparing for Your Full Body Skin Exam

In advance of your visit to a dermatologist, make sure that any concerns you’re currently aware of are addressed. Take notes about anything unusual about your skin, hair or nails can do this, and make sure your questions are brought up during your exam. This can include odd shaped moles, black lines in your fingernails or even conditions such as dry or oily skin that you notice. Increased hair loss can also be something of concern that should be brought up during your visit.

As with any and all medical diagnoses and treatments, remember that the best advocate for a patient is the patient. Help your dermatologist know more about you and your body through regular, monthly self skin exams, which include making note of anything unusual, new or changing on your body. It’s important to check the soles of your feel, between toes and fingers and your scalp. Do the best you can to see what you can. If you see something before your annual exam, get it checked out immediately.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help

Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of treatment options for patients who’ve been referred to the practice by a patient’s dermatologist or primary physician. For certain patients under our care, clinical research studies currently being conducted at Comprehensive Cancer Centers may offer help, please click here to learn more. To schedule an appointment with the team at Comprehensive, please call 702-952-3350.

The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.