How Often Should You Get a Skin Cancer Screening?
Lots of people in Pasadena, CA are asking the wrong question when they wonder “When should I get a skin cancer screening?” Instead, the question should be “How often should I get a skin check?” and the answer to that is pretty often. Even healthy people without any specific cause for concern about skin cancer should get an annual skin cancer screening to ensure the disease is caught in its earliest stages or even in a precancerous stage.
If you are at an elevated risk for skin cancer based on family history or your own personal history of multiple sunburns, years in the sun, or past bouts of skin cancer, you need to get to your Pasadena dermatologist even more often. Two cancer screening skin checks per year is the safe bet for someone at high risk of the disease. And an immediate appointment with a skin cancer dermatologist in Pasadena or with a dermatologist near me you prefer is advised just as soon as possible if you spot something on your skin that might be a symptom of skin cancer.
What are the Symptoms of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer?
There are more than half a dozen types of non-melanoma skin cancer, but most are so rare that they do not need specific coverage, as they will be identified by your skin cancer doctor based on specific symptoms once you get a skin check. These rare non-melanoma skin cancers account for only one percent of all skin cancer. On the other hand, there are some four million cases of basal cell carcinoma skin cancer diagnosed annually in America and some one million cases of squamous cell carcinoma cancer. As roughly one in four Americans will get skin cancer at some point, you must know these common skin cancer symptoms and you should check out skin cancer pictures to familiarize yourself with them as well. (Note that skin cancer photos may not show the same symptoms you see listed here or that you see on your skin, so always defer to a doctor.)
The following things on skin may be cause for concerns over non-melanoma skin cancer:
- Flaky or Scaly Patches – Usually gray, yellowish, and waxen, patches of skin that flake away at times are a cause for concern.
- Sores That Don’t Heal – An unexplained sore that festers and bleeds easily and won’t heal properly is very likely skin cancer.
- Raised Pinkish Bumps – Raised bumps that may be pink or flesh-toned and that have a shiny finish may be skin cancer.
- Raised Red Nodules – Squamous Cell skin cancer often presents itself in the form of dark red nodules that rise slightly off the skin.
What are the Symptoms of Melanoma Skin Cancer?
Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer and accounts for most of the deaths caused by the broader disease. If not treated quickly or aggressively enough, it can and will spread, becoming harder to treat and often lethal. But caught early and treated properly, the survival rate is nonetheless high.
Melanoma patients occasionally see sores that ooze and won’t heal, dark spots on the iris that blue eyesight, and changes to pigmentation in places, but the most common symptoms of melanoma skin cancer are irregular moles. These are usually new moles (in 75% of cases) but sometimes melanoma takes over extant moles. Use the ABCDE method and watch for these factors when examining a potentially cancerous mole:
A – Asymmetry – A cancerous mole will usually have an irregular shape — think the outline of an island instead of a circle or oval.
B – Borders – Cancerous moles have amorphous borders that blend into the skin instead of clear lines where the mole ends.
C – Color – Healthy moles are usually uniform in color, whereas melanoma moles are not.
D – Diameter – Any mole that grows larger than a quarter of an inch across may be cause for concern.
E – Evolving – If you can tell a mole is growing and/or changing over a short period of time, as in weeks instead of years, get ton your Pasadena dermatologist right away.
The Best Treatment for Skin Cancer in Pasadena, CA
Many dermatologist in Pasadena, CA recommend Superficial Radio Therapy treatment for non-melanoma skin cancer. Performed with the Sensus Healthcare SRT-100 Vision, an advanced FDA-cleared device, radiation treatment for skin cancer has a 98% cure rate and is noninvasive, not painful, and is an outpatient procedure with no side effects beyond occasional slight redness or tenderness at the treatment area during the course of treatment, which usually lasts a few weeks with semi-regular sessions.