Skin Cancer Screening: What To Expect

skin cancer screenings

Get That Check-up

Skin cancer screening is where a patient’s skin is inspected to identify if he or she has signs of skin cancer. This inspection is generally recommended for people who have suspicious moles and other such spots, and those who have close relatives that have or have had skin cancer.

Skin cancer screening is generally performed by dermatologists – medical experts who specialize in the identification, treatment, and prevention of skin cancers and diseases.

Why Is Skin Cancer Screening Important?

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the US; as a matter of fact, 1 in every 5 Americans will experience this cancer type at one point in their lifetime. Skin cancer comes in many different forms, including basal cell carcinoma, actinic keratoses, melanoma, and squamous cell carcinoma amongst others, and affect people of all races and colors. Of all skin cancer types, basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) are the most common, but the deadliest is melanoma.

When detected early and treated properly, both BCC and SCC can be treated with a 95% cure rate. When detected early too, Melanoma can be treated before it spreads. It is, therefore, advisable that you perform personal skin exams and that have your skin examined by a dermatologist at least once a year to have better chances of identifying skin cancer before it’s too late.

The great thing about skin cancer screening is that no blood work is required; making it a safe and painless process.

What You Need To Know

Cost

Skin cancer screening is generally free; though there are some screening processes and specialists that will require you to pay a fee for more thorough screening. Therefore, if all you want is a simple screening, then consider looking for a free skin screening services provider.

Time

Skin cancer screenings are brief, lasting about 10 minutes – and that includes getting your skin checked and completing the necessary paperwork.

Privacy

Most skin cancer screenings are done in a private setting. As such, you can have a full-body screening performed if you wish. However, if it is a public screening in a public setting with little privacy, then only exposed areas like arms, neck, face and hands will be inspected.

What To Expect When Getting a Full-Body Skin Cancer Screening

Skin cancer screenings are generally the same. At most screenings, you will, first of all, be required to fill out a form in or before going into the examination room. After that, you’ll be required to disrobe and put on a gown before the dermatologist enters the room to examine your skin. If it is a full-body screening, then expect your dermatologist to examine your skin from head-to-toe. The specialist will note his/her finding on a medical form and will give you recommendations on what to do next including getting a biopsy done, if necessary. Once the process is over – normally takes about 10 minutes – some service providers offer patients educational materials that explain to them how to perform personal skin checks at home and how to protect their skin.

When considering having your skin checked for cancer, it is advisable that you take the time to consider the dermatologist or clinic you visit for these services. Therefore, ensure that you have done enough research on all potential options before choosing one for the best results.

Identify Skin Cancer Symptoms Early

skin cancer symptoms

Catch and Cure Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is a medical disease that can be caused by various factors including an individual’s living environment, working environment, or genetic make-up.  While the biological factors are uncontrollable to a degree, individuals living in these environments are increasing in diagnosis of skin cancer.

Unfortunately, this increase in diagnosis is typically due to the numerous environmental problems facing the globe including pollution.  If patients do not seek treatment in a certain amount of time, the skin cancer can become severe and will be uncontrollable.

Medical experts agree that early detection of this medical condition can increase a patient’s chance of combating the disease.  To facilitate a timely diagnosis, and obtain the suitable course of treatment, it is necessary to identify skin cancer symptoms in the correct amount of time.

The question remains as to how a person can recognize these symptoms if they are not aware of the signs.  This article will point out the different early cancer symptoms and their physical manifestations.

1. The Symptom Of Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma is a particular type of skin cancer that develops quite quickly.  The primary symptom is a skin ulcer which presents in a cauliflower shape with inflammation surrounding it.  This type of cancer can be extremely painful in that it can penetrate the skin causing pain to the individual’s bones.

In addition to the pain, the ulcer may be accompanied by a foul odor.  The smell is not always present in the patient, particularly during the early stages; however, when it is present it is caused by a pyogenic infection.

In the later stages, the ulcers typically progress to appearing on the patient’s head.  This ‘head ulcer’ will often present with the smell and will bleed easily if not treated regularly.

2. The Symptom Of Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma is a form of skin cancer that is much more difficult to identify than squamous cell carcinoma.  This is due to the fact that basal cell carcinoma has very few early skin cancer systems.  In fact, the only early stage cancer symptom that has been associated with this form of skin cancer is a stiff papule growing on the skin.  The papule is most commonly seen on the nose, cheek or forehead; however, it will also appear on the hand.

In the majority of cases, the stiff papule will cause ulcer lesions to grow in irregular shapes will inflammation surrounding the shape.  They grow slowly and do not spread to other parts of the body.  However, the lesions can be painful as they invade the tissues of the skin.

3. The Ulcers Associated With Skin Cancer

As can be seen, the most common manifestations of skin cancer are skin ulcers and blemishes.  It is important to know which ulcer and blemish is caused by cancer, as well as the associated type of skin cancer.  Skin ulcers will mostly be brown, black, red, blue or white in color and will change in color as the cancer progresses.  The surface of the ulcer can be quite rough and could begin to bleed.  The majority of the time, they will itch and feel tender, which can contribute to pain.

Skin Cancer Check: What To Expect

skin cancer checkup

Your Skin Cancer Treatment

If there are suspicious moles on your skin, you need to make an appointment with a dermatologist. Even smaller towns usually have a dermatologist, and most cities will have quite a few. For example, Orlando, Florida, has over 60 dermatology practices, for instance Exquisite Dermatology , Mid FL Dermatology, Reflections Derm, Knipe Dermatology and many others.

The first visit, the doctor will perform a full body skin examination as part of the skin cancer consultation. If there are unusual spots in your body, the doctor or nurse should take photographs. You need to return later to have the unusual spots removed as well as to have follow-up photographs taken to check for any changes.

The Initial Consultation

During this session, the doctor will speak about risk factors for skin cancer or any relevant issues in your medical history such as operations, illnesses, allergies or medications. It’s prudent to fill out the registration form before seeing the doctor to make this process easier. The doctor should also speak to you about any spots on your body that you’re concerned about as how frequently you need to have check-ups.

Full Body Examination

There are many skin cancers that go unnoticed or undetected and a full body examination might reveal some problems that the patient didn’t know in the first place. The doctor examines the whole body, looking for moles with unusual shapes or colors as well as abnormal skin lesions. Unless you request one, there is no examination of the genital area. Note that, skin cancers are quite rare around this area.

The scalp is also examined, especially if you’re bald. It’s rare for skin cancer lesions to appear on a full head of hair. If you don’t want a full body examination, the doctor can examine the specific spots or lesions that you’re worried about.

If there are any unusual spots, the doctor will use a dermoscope, an instrument that magnifies and illuminates the skin. That way, the doctor can clearly see through the top layer.
Photographs are taken using the highest resolution and analyzed to get more information about the specific spot. It’s advisable to take photographs of the whole body to check for any new spots that might appear during the second visit.

Follow-Up

Depending on the outcome of your skin-check, the follow-up visit should involve the following. If there are unusual spots on your skin, the doctor will ask you to return in 3 months for the follow-up visit. He/she will take more photographs and reexamine the spots. If there are no significant changes, it is less likely that you have skin cancer.

If the spots look abnormal, arrangements should be made to remove or diagnose the lesion. A biopsy is performed to determine whether the lesion is cancerous or not. Depending on the abnormality of the lesion, the doctor will provide appropriate recommendations on whether or not you should return for a follow-up.

If a cancerous mole or skin lesion is discovered, the doctor should advise you on the best treatment methods. Of course, the first step is determining the stage of the cancer. If the dermatologist is not equipped to handle the case, he/she can recommend another specialist who will provide you with the best care and treatment.

Skin Cancer Screening for Moles and Skin Problems

screen for skin cancer

Got Skin Issues? Get Screened

Skin cancer is a result of the skin getting old and losing its capacity to govern the rate at which skin cells get replaced. The skin is actually the largest organ in the human body and covers the entire body. Constant exposure to the sun can lead to skin cancer, and that is why it is prevalent in people who are constantly exposed to the sun, like sportsmen and others who are required to always be outdoors.

Regularly Check Your Skin

The most serious form of skin cancer is melanoma and this can be fatal. Skin cancer can be prevented or controlled if you go in for regular skin screening, especially after you have crossed the age of fifty. It is a fact that most people spend some time before the mirror, every day, and if you have the tendency for your skin to discolor, show dark spots and moles, you will do well to carefully inspect your skin for any signs of skin problems.

See a Dermatologist for Screening

A dermatologist is one who specializes in skin diseases and is the right person to go for skin cancer screening. You must go to this specialist if you find that moles are changing in size and color. This doctor will screen all affected parts of the body, and will, in fact, examine all parts of the body to detect any anomalies that point to the likelihood of skin problems. This will include the scalp.

If the doctor has any doubts he will conduct a biopsy and send a sample of the affected part for a laboratory checkup. The biopsy is conducted with a local anesthetic injected into the affected area of the skin, and a biopsy needle, a hollow pipe, used to extract a sample of the skin. A pathologist examines the skin under a microscope to determine whether there is a presence of cancer cells.

Biopsies

When a biopsy indicates the presence of a malignancy the dermatologist may recommend procedures to excise the cancerous parts. Cosmetologists will operate on the face or other sensitive parts of the body, to remove cancer cells and do plastic surgery to remodel the skin.

Small lesions or moles that are cancerous can also be removed by cryosurgery and this method is fairly effective. Cryosurgery involves the use of nitrogen liquid that is sprayed onto cancer-affected areas. This procedure literally gives the skin a cold burn, and the cells are burnt and absorbed by the body. Scabs can form, but these will fall off after a few days, leaving the skin bright and clear.

Melanomas that are detected early have survival rates that are almost a hundred percent and may not recur for at least five years. The patient has to take care to use sunscreen and take other means to avoid direct exposure to the sun.

Once any such problems are detected, it is advisable that you go in for regular skin screening at least once a year. Keep an eye on your skin and do contact the dermatologist if you have any doubts or notice some aberrations.