Why should I see a doctor if I’m healthy?
Preventative healthcare has gained more attention over the last couple of decades. The potential for early diagnosis, intervention, and management may help reduce the long-term burden of chronic illness and disease.
I remember in training hearing an attending doctor say that he was frustrated by the concept of skin cancer screenings. He mentioned that it used to be that patients came in with a problem and asked us to treat it. Now, patients are coming in saying can you find something wrong with me?
It is not easy for physicians as skin cancer screenings are not an exact science. However, the benefit to our patients of early diagnosis, treatment, and management of skin cancer is enormous and cannot be overlooked. The most important thing for patients to understand is that skin cancer screenings are a partnership. We need to work together for the early detection of skin cancer. The simple reason why is that one of the most important criteria to consider in the diagnosis of skin cancer is change. This is something that a patient may recognize before the physician.
Why should I have a skin cancer screening?
Annual skin cancer screenings are one of the most important screenings that millennials should get a head start on. All too often, people start thinking about health maintenance well into their 40s and 50s. However, when it comes to skin cancer, melanoma is the most common cancer in 25 to 29-year-olds and one of the most common cancers in 18 to 25-year-olds. Early detection and diagnosis are key and annual skin cancer screenings with a Board Certified Dermatologist.
Is skin cancer preventable?
Skin cancer is highly preventable with the appropriate precautions taken in the sun and avoiding the use of tanning beds. It is also very treatable when detected in the earliest stages.
With a focus on wellness and self-care, taking proactive steps in our health can reap long-term benefits.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, as the saying goes...
Have you seen skin cancers in patients under the age of 30?
I have seen a significant number of skin cancers in people under the age of 30, even this past summer. It is alarming because the vast majority of our patients that come in for routine skin cancer screenings are over the age of 40 and mostly over the age of 50.
What age should routine annual skin cancer screenings begin?
I recommend annual skin cancer screenings starting at the age of 18.
I encourage my patients to remember that according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, melanoma is the second most common diagnosed cancer in ages 15 to 19 and the most common cancer in patients ages 25-29.
Several Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinomas present as a ‘pimple that won’t heal”. I worry about how many may be missed if these people are not coming in for routine screenings.
Aside from moles and freckles, are there other types of spots to be concerned about?
The key to remember is that if a wound is not healing in the right time frame- meaning you have a scab and realize that scab has not healed after 1 to 2 months, it should be checked by your Dermatologist.
Early diagnosis of a skin cancer leads to better outcomes and smaller scars. I strongly recommend keeping skin cancer screenings on your list of annual checkups.