Chances are, you or someone you know has experienced skin cancer since about 9,500 people in this country alone get diagnosed with it every day. Skin cancer doesn’t discriminate based on race, skin color, or age; it can affect anyone and everyone, and the Skin Cancer Foundation stats are sobering:
- One-fifth of Americans will get skin cancer by the time they’re 70.
- It only takes five sunburns to double your risk for skin cancer.
- Every 60 minutes, two people die of skin cancer.
The good news is that all types of skin cancer are treatable, and most are curable if caught early enough.
That’s where skin cancer screenings come in. At Easton Dermatology, our team of experienced dermatologists offers thorough skin cancer screenings to folks throughout Easton, Salisbury, and Kent Island, Maryland. We understand that thinking about the possibility of cancer can be unsettling, and much of the anxiety stems from not knowing what will happen during your exam. To put you at ease, we’ve asked our experts to explain the process, so you know exactly what to expect.
How to get ready for your skin cancer screening
You’re an important participant in your skin cancer screening, and your thoughts and concerns are integral to the process.
Take some time before your appointment to write down possible symptoms that need a closer look. For example, let us know about:
- New moles
- Skin tags
- Painful growths
- Itchy moles or growths
- Moles that have changed in either size or color
If you have any of these, it doesn’t mean you have cancer; it simply means we should examine them carefully and perhaps take a look at the tissue under a microscope.
On the day of your skin cancer screening, come to us with clean skin that’s free of lotion, sunscreen, and perfume. Remove nail polish, and don’t wear makeup. Leave your jewelry at home, or take it off for the screening.
What happens during a skin cancer screening?
When you come in for a skin cancer screening, we don’t leave anything unchecked, which means we look at every square inch of your body.
In the privacy of our examination room, you remove your clothing and put on a gown that opens in the back. When you’re set, we enter the room and explain each step of the process to you.
We use our eyes and hands to examine your skin from head to toe, including your:
- Arms and hands
- Legs and feet
We are thorough and even check between your fingers and toes and inside your mouth. If we find something suspicious or just need a better view, we use a lighted magnifying instrument called a dermoscope to get a closer look.
Depending on how many moles you have — changing moles may indicate cancer — your appointment could be over in as few as 10 minutes, but it typically doesn’t exceed 30.
Don’t fret about suspicious spots
It isn’t uncommon to find small moles or lesions that look suspicious during our exam. It doesn’t mean you have cancer, but we want to take a tissue sample to rule out cancer. If this becomes necessary, we numb your skin and use a small, sterile blade to shave a tiny slice of the tissue and send it to a lab for analysis.
As soon as the results are ready, we let you know. This may take a few days or even a few weeks.
If your test results reveal cancer, don’t panic; you’re in good hands with our team at Easton Dermatology.
The best treatment depends on the type of skin cancer and how far it has spread. Our experts have many years of experience successfully treating all types of skin cancer, and we can get you started on the plan that addresses your unique needs.
One of our specialists, Dr. Hyland Cronin, is fellowship-trained in Mohs surgery, the most advanced technique for removing cancerous tissue, while preserving healthy tissue for minimal trauma.
Most skin cancer screenings result in a clean bill of health and peace of mind, so there’s no need to be anxious. To schedule a skin cancer screening and give yourself the best chance of detecting and eliminating skin cancer, call Easton Dermatology Associates at 410-819-8867.