Everything you need to know about Skin Cancer Screening

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What is skin cancer screening?

Skin Cancer screening, also known as a skin exam, is a visual examination of the skin which is carried out by a doctor or health care provider. During this type of exam, your skin will be checked for imperfections such as moles, blemishes, and birthmarks. 

The doctor will look out for unusual marks. If you've recently noticed changes in the color or texture of your skin or have a mole or blemish, which has changed its shape or increased in size, the doctor will be interested in looking at these areas.

Unusual markings on the skin may be a sign of skin cancer, but it's important not to panic as sun damage, aging, and other factors can also cause changes.

What is skin cancer?

Skin cancer is widespread in America; in fact, it's one of the most common types of cancer. There are different types of skin cancers, the most common being basal cell and squamous cell cancers. The good news is that these types of diseases don't usually spread to other parts of the body.

They are also very receptive to treatment and can generally be curable with treatment. There is also another, rarer type of skin cancer known as melanoma which is more dangerous and can spread to other areas of the body. Melanoma is the cause of most skin cancer deaths.

Skin cancer screenings help to reduce skin cancer deaths as they allow doctors to diagnose and treat the cancer earlier. Skin cancer screening alone is not used to diagnose skin cancer. If the doctor suspects that skin cancer is present, a biopsy will be carried out, and this will determine whether or not you have cancer.

Do I need skin cancer screening?

Regular skin cancer screening is recommended if you are more likely to be at risk of the disease. These risk factors include having pale skin, blond or red hair, skin that is easily burned by the sun, or if you have freckles. You will also be at more risk of developing skin cancer if you have a family history of the disease or if you have a lot of moles.

If you are considered to be more at risk of skin cancer, it's essential to carry out regular skin examinations at home yourself. Look out for changes in the texture and tone of your skin and keep an eye on any existing moles or spots.

See a doctor if you find any mole or blemishes that are painful or bleeding or become crusty; if you have any cuts or sores that don't heal within a couple of weeks or you notice skin that's shiny pink, red, or seems pearly white. Also, look out for translucent bumps and moles with irregular borders as these may bleed more easily.

If you notice signs of skin cancer or melanoma, see your doctor or health care provider as soon as possible. They will be able to provide you with a professional skin cancer screening and can carry out a biopsy if they find anything worrying.

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