Did you know that, in the United States, more than five million people are diagnosed each year with the most common forms of skin cancer? Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are together known as non-melanoma skin cancers, and their diagnosis and treatment increased by 77 percent between 1994 and 2014. Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, is fortunately less common, but there are still just under 200,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Does this mean that everyone should get regular skin cancer screenings? Experts say no. There are, however, factors that increase the risk of skin cancers. For people at increased risk, regular screenings are recommended. What are those factors?
- Some risks are inherited. These include:
- Red hair and freckles albinism
- 50 or more moles
- Melanoma in your family history
- Genetic syndromes that cause sun sensitivity
- Other risks are environmental. Get an annual screening if you’ve had:
- Too much exposure to the sun
- Frequent tanning salon trips
- Blistering sunburns
- If you, personally, have pre-cancerous conditions, you should be screened. These conditions include:
- Actinic keratosis
- Dysplastic nevi (unusual moles)
- Personal skin cancer history
- Basal and squamous cell cancer
- If you’ve had treatment that could cause skin cancer, get screened annually. This includes:
- Radiation treatment
- Immunosuppressive treatment
- Other cancer treatments
Even if you don’t have any of these risk factors, it’s important to be aware of your skin so that you will notice if there are any changes. You may not require annual screening, but letting your doctor know if you see anything suspicious is a good way to stay ahead of skin cancer. As soon as you can, show your doctor any suspicious skin areas, sores that don’t heal, or changes in moles or freckles. If something seems worrisome to you in any way, don’t hesitate to discuss it with a medical professional.
When it comes to skin cancer, as well as many other skin conditions, prevention is key. Catching cancers early on is the next best way to effectively treat them. That’s why we offer advice, care, and screenings, to help you keep your skin healthy. Whether you need help for your face, body, or scalp, Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology is committed to providing superior, professional care that’s practical, efficient, and compassionate. With over 30 years of experience providing dermatological services in Salt Lake City, we provide a variety of services, from cosmetic skincare to treatment for skin cancer. Our team of board-certified dermatologists, licensed cosmetic service providers, and friendly staff members is here to provide you the care you need in a comfortable, professional atmosphere. For more information, contact us through our website or call 801.682.4715 today.