1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70, but if detected early, the 5-year survival rate for melanoma is 99%.
So how do you make sure that you’re taking care of your skin and looking out for your health?
One of the best ways to stay on top of any skin abnormalities and find skin cancer in its early stages is to get a regular skin check. We’ll dive into some of the details so you can learn more about why it’s important to get a complete skin check.
What Is a Skin Check?
A complete skin check is when a dermatologist examines your skin from head to toe. They’ll look for any skin abnormalities or any other spots that stand out to them. They might examine some spots more closely under a magnifying device.
During your skin check, your dermatologist can also make note of any spots that they’ll want to monitor over time. They might take pictures so that they can compare how this spot looks the next time they see you. You can always contact a dermatologist to learn more about this service.
How Often Should You Be Scheduling a Skin Check?
It’s best practice to go in for a complete skin check about once a year. You should start going regularly in your 20s or 30s and ensure that your dermatologist is screening specifically for skin cancer.
If you have any of the following risk factors, however, you should see your dermatologist more than once a year, or begin your regular screenings earlier:
- Light complexion (blonde hair, light eyes, freckled skin that burns easily)
- Family history of melanoma or other skin cancer
- Personal history of sunburns or tanning bed use
- History of unusual moles, more than 50 moles, or a particularly suspicious mole
If you fall into one of these categories, your skin check is even more important because it’s possible you’re at a higher risk for skin cancer.
Benefits of Skin Checks
The biggest benefit of scheduling your annual skin check is the possible early detection of cancer and skin cancer prevention. These sorts of screenings are considered preventive care because your dermatologist can identify and remove anything they’re worried might be pre-cancerous.
These exams also help identify skin cancer before it can become metastatic and spread to other areas of the body. It’s in these early stages that cancer is the most treatable, and so skin checks can help save lives.
Stay On Top of Your Health
By following through with your annual skin check with your dermatologist, you can stay on top of your health and look out for your well-being. A complete skin check is the easiest way to detect and treat skin cancer, and scheduling an appointment is the first step.
If you found this post helpful, make sure to check out some of our other health articles!