Early detection of cancer is key to having the highest probability of getting cured with the least financial investment.
However, regular cancer screening isn’t encouraged nearly as much as it should. Most people only seek out a specialist when cancer has already spread, causing obvious skin changes.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. There are more skin cancers diagnosed in the United States than all other types of cancers combined. At times, skin cancer can also develop in hidden places, such as on your scalp, making it difficult to identify symptoms without seeing a professional.
Our specialist, Gail Zimmerman M.D., wants to raise awareness of the importance of skin cancer. Read on to find out who’s at risk of skin cancer and how often you should get a screening.
If you love tanning, you may have a higher risk of developing skin cancer. Studies show that exposure to tanning beds can increase the risk of developing skin cancer, especially if you start tanning earlier in life.
However, getting sunburn from the sun isn’t safer for your skin. While moderate sun exposure is vital for producing Vitamin D, which supports the immune system and helps prevent cancer, you should avoid going out at peak hours without wearing protective clothing.
Family history of skin cancer
Even after taking into account skin pigment, sun exposure, and other possible causes, family history is still a big risk factor in the development of basal cell carcinoma (BBC).
Although BBC is the most common type of skin cancer, it’s also the most treatable type as long as it’s detected early.
Less pigment in your skin and hair
If you have light skin and blonde or ginger hair, your body produces less melanin, which means you have less protection against the sun.
Tending to burn instead of getting a tan is also a good indicator that you’re at a higher risk for developing cancerous growths on your skin.
How often you should get skin cancer screening
For patients who aren’t in a risk group, an annual skin cancer screening may be enough to account for any changes in your skin.
If you are fair-skinned, have blue or green eyes, or have close relatives who’ve suffered from skin cancer, you may need to see a specialist more often, especially if you’ve had sunburns or sunbathe often.
Are you worried about recent changes in your skin? Haven’t had your annual skin cancer screening yet? Contact Dr. Zimmerman to schedule a consultation.