It’s that time of year where sun becomes a constant force in our lives. Cool mornings and warm afternoons fill up spring days, and desire to be outside can sometimes overcome the reminder of putting on sunscreen. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. In fact, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people are diagnosed annually. For over 20 years, our skilled dermatologists at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta (DAA) have performed skin cancer screenings for patients of all ages to prevent, treat, and educate patients on the prevalent disease. Below, you’ll find five tips for getting the most out of your skin cancer screenings.
• Remember that simple skin cancer screenings can save lives. Although melanoma accounts for about 5% to 6% of skin cancer diagnoses, it accounts for approximately 75% of the mortality from skin cancer.
• Remove nail polish from fingers and toes. If you have any suspicious lesions, our dermatologists need to have a look at your nails and nail beds, where stealthy skin cancers can form. It’s best to take off polish and let us take a look.
• Know your body: make note of problem areas beforehand. Pre-screening, perform a full-body skin self-exam, listing any new, changing, itching, or bleeding moles, growths, or other lesions. Bring these up to your dermatologist during your exam.
• Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you weren’t sure what to look for during your self-exam, ask your experienced dermatologist, who can show you where and how to properly look for skin cancer signs. You should also ask questions about unknown terms or unfamiliar recommendations brought up during your exam.
• Be consistent. The dermatologists at DAA recommend yearly skin cancer exams as cancer stages can change or progress at any time. During a skin cancer body check, we will meticulously evaluate sun-exposed areas of skin to look for problematic moles and markings. Since not all skin cancer forms have noticeable physical symptoms, it’s important that you regularly seek screenings to prevent skin cancer by a dermatologist who knows precisely what to look for.
Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined. Don’t be a statistic: take preventative measures and protect your skin with broad-spectrum SPF 30 (minimum) sunscreen daily. Cover up with hats and clothing and stay in the shade whenever possible. For more information about skin cancer prevention or skin cancer treatments offered at DAA, please call us to schedule an appointment at (404) 256-4457. Don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest skincare news and information.