For years, melanoma has been known as the deadliest form of skin cancer. In fact, the American Cancer Society estimates that within the United States, an individual dies of melanoma at a rate of almost one per hour. However, this type of skin cancer can be diagnosed in the early stages, allowing for faster and more effective treatment. With treatment comes lower morbidity and mortality rates.
Why are skin cancer screenings so important?
Our skin is the largest organ of our body, and is one of few organs that are exposed to the elements every day. This means that it is at a high risk of developing cancer. There are several types of cancer, with melanoma being the most deadly of them all. However, if patients have skin cancer screenings performed at least once a year, a dermatologist can spot areas of concern, perform a biopsy, and find out if patients have skin cancer. Once skin cancer has been diagnosed, then treatment options can be discussed.
Without routine skin cancer screenings, patients are putting themselves at risk for developing more severe stages of cancer. These later stages may be much more difficult to treat because of the rate at which they spread. However, early detection ensures a more effective approach to treatment and can eliminate the chances of the cancer spreading elsewhere to the body.
What occurs during a skin cancer screening?
First, the doctor will ask the patient if they have noticed any unusual growths or changes to their skin that may be indicative of cancer and will evaluate these areas first. Then, a head-to-toe examination is performed. Moles, birthmarks, skin tags, and other skin imperfections that are spotted are recorded, and areas may be measured or biopsied. If patients receive a confirmation that skin cancer cells are present, removal of the skin growth may be discussed. Patients may also be referred to an oncologist to discuss their next plan of action and determine which treatment is best.
Schedule your routine skin cancer screening today
Regular screenings with a dermatologist can help with early detection and treatment of even the deadliest forms of skin cancer. Contact Remington Laser Dermatology Centre in Calgary, AB to schedule a screening with Drs. Todd Remington or Kent Remington, and start taking a proactive approach to your body’s health and wellness.