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Skin Cancer Screening

Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. Each year in the U.S. over 5.4 million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer are treated in more than 3.3 million people. When allowed to progress, skin cancer can result in disfigurement and even death. However, if diagnosed early, skin cancer is easy to treat. 

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that everyone practice monthly head-to-toe self-examinations of their skin so that they can find any changes that might be cancerous or precancerous. Skin cancers found and removed early are almost always curable.

Fortunately, unlike most other cancers, skin cancers can be seen on the skin and are most often visible to the patient and the examiner.

There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Because each has many different appearances, it is important to know the early warning signs. Look especially for change of any kind in color or texture. Do not ignore a suspicious spot simply because it does not hurt. Skin cancers may be painless, but dangerous all the same. If you notice one or more of the warning signs, see a doctor right away, preferably one who specializes in diseases of the skin.

Here’s what to look for:

  • A skin growth that increases in size and appears pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black or multicolored
  • A mole, birthmark, beauty mark or any brown spot that:
    • changes color
    • increases in size or thickness
    • changes in texture
    • is irregular in outline
    • is bigger than 1/4", the size of a pencil eraser
    • appears after age 21
  • A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab, erode or bleed
  • An open sore that does not heal within three weeks

See your physician every year for a professional skin cancer screening. Summa Health makes it easy to see a dermatologist. Learn more about our telederm option or call 234.867.7965 to schedule an appointment.

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If your situation is an emergency, call 911.