Do I really need a skin check?
Skin cancer is the most common form in the United States, with more than 5 million cases diagnosed yearly. However, it is also one of the most preventable and curable forms of cancer if caught early. Therefore, you must check your skin regularly with a dermatologist or other healthcare provider.
One of the most significant risks for developing skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or indoor tanning beds. UV radiation damages the DNA in skin cells, which can lead to the development of cancerous cells. Therefore, people who have had a lot of sun exposure, especially those who have had sunburns, are at higher risk for developing skin cancer.
However, skin cancer can affect anyone, regardless of their skin type or how much sun exposure they have had. That’s why everyone needs to get their skin checked regularly. This is especially true for those with a family history of skin cancer, as they may be at higher risk.
During a skin check, a dermatologist or other healthcare provider will examine your skin for any unusual or suspicious-looking moles, freckles, or other skin growths. They will also check for any changes in the size, shape, or color of existing moles or freckles. They may recommend a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis if they find anything unusual.
If skin cancer is detected and treated early, the chances of a complete recovery are excellent. However, if it is not caught early, it can spread to other body parts and become more challenging to treat. That’s why it’s essential to get your skin checked regularly and to take steps to protect it from UV radiation.
Some tips for protecting your skin from UV radiation include:
- Wearing protective clothing, such as long sleeves and pants, when you are outside
- Wearing a hat with a wide brim to protect your face and neck
- Using sunscreen with a high SPF (at least 30) and applying it generously and frequently
- Seeking shade when the sun is at its strongest, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV radiation
Taking these simple precautions and regularly checking your skin can significantly reduce your risk of developing skin cancer and improve your chances of early detection and successful treatment.