Skin Cancer Screening

Skin Cancer Screening Exams

Skin cancer screening is recommended only for adults at increased risk. That’s because they have a higher chance of getting the disease.

Being at increased risk doesn’t mean you’ll definitely get skin cancer. But, you may need to start regular screening exams. So if you do get skin cancer, your doctor finds it at its earliest stage. When found early, the chances for successfully treating the disease are greatest. 

Along with regular exams, practice awareness. This means you should be familiar with your skin. That way you’ll notice changes as well as new growths. Then, report them to your doctor without delay. Learn the ABC’s of melanoma:

  • Asymmetry of lesion: Are both sides of the lesion different?
  • Border irregularity: Are the edges notched as opposed to smooth?
  • Color variegation: Is the lesion a mixture of black, blue, red and white?
  • Diameter: Is the diameter greater than six millimeters? (Most melanomas are larger than the head of a pencil.)
  • Evolution: Is the lesion growing in width or height?
  • Feeling: Has the sensation around a mole or spot changed?

Promptly show your doctor any:

  • Suspicious skin area
  • Sore that doesn’t heal
  • Change in a mole or freckle

If you identify with one or more of the groups below, we recommend an annual, full-body skin cancer screening exam:

Inherited risks

  • Red hair and freckles albinism
  • More than 50 moles
  • Family history of melanoma
  • Genetic syndromes that make you sensitive to the sun

Environmental exposures

  • Too much sun exposure
  • Frequent trips to the tanning salon
  • One or more blistering sunburn(s)

Personal pre-cancerous conditions

  • Actinic keratosis
  • Dysplastic nevi (unusual moles)
  • Personal skin cancer history
  • Basal and squamous cell cancer

Prior treatment

  • Radiation treatment
  • Immunosuppressive treatment
  • Other cancer treatments that increase risk

These recommendations serve as a guide. Promptly show your doctor any suspicious skin area, non-healing sore or change in a mole or freckle. If exam results suggest cancer, more extensive diagnostic tests should be conducted.