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The best way to know if you have skin cancer is to have routine screenings by your dermatologist every year, or more often if you have certain risk factors for skin cancer. A screening exam looks for signs of skin cancer that an untrained person may miss, including signs that develop in areas that can be difficult to assess on your own. Between skin cancer screenings, look for any spots on your skin that change size, shape or color, that ooze or become itchy, that have odd-looking borders or multiple colors, or that have any other unusual markings, and call the office immediately if you notice anything that looks odd or suspicious.
The three common types of skin cancer include:
basal cell carcinoma, which includes about 80 to 85 percent of all skin cancers
squamous cell carcinoma, which makes up about 10 percent of all skin cancer cases
melanoma, the rarest – and deadliest – form of skin cancer, accounting for roughly five percent of all skin cancer cases
Melanoma is responsible for most deaths that care caused by skin cancer.
In addition to having routine screenings, it's very important to protect your skin when you're out in the sun and to avoid overexposure to the sun's UV rays. Wearing sunscreen, a hat and other protective clothing and avoiding being in the sun during the hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. when the sun is its brightest can help reduce your risks.
Absolutely. Screenings are fast, completely noninvasive and painless. Regular screenings are the best way to catch skin cancer in its earliest stages when it's most treatable.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!