When Should I Get a Skin Cancer Screening? –
More than 5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year, making it the country’s most common type of cancer. But the good news is skin cancer is one of the most preventable cancers. And, when diagnosed and treated early 99% of skin cancers are curable. However, when caught too late, or left untreated skin cancer can be fatal.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation more than two people die of skin cancer every hour. This means that while skin cancer is both preventable and treatable, many people simply are still NOT getting screened adequately or frequently enough. And by failing to get regular skin cancer screenings they are putting their lives at risk.
In this article, nationally renowned NYC dermatologist Dr. Gary Goldenberg shares facts about the dangers of unprotected sun exposure, the early warning signs of skin cancer, and the screening guidelines that can save lives.
What Does Skin Cancer Look Like?
Skin cancers can grow anywhere on the face or body, but they are most common in areas that get the most sun, which include the arms, neck, head, and face. Monthly self-screening in a mirror can help spot these warning signs early.
Signs of skin cancer to look for during a self-exam include:
- Any wart-like growth
- Rough or scaly red patches, which may bleed or crust
- New, growing, or changing spots or bumps
- An unexplained sore that bleeds and doesn’t heal after several weeks
- Moles that show changes in shape, size, or color
- Any mole with irregular edges, an odd shape, or areas of different colors
The “ABCs” of Skin Cancer Screening
When performing self-screening for skin cancer the “A, B, C, D, E Rules” are helpful because they are easy to remember. If any one of them applies to you, it is time to call Goldenberg Dermatology for a professional skin cancer screening.
“A” – asymmetrical moles or lesions that are not completely round in shape.
“B” – borders that are blurred, notched, irregular or ragged.
“C” – color changes, including: a mole losing its pigment or becoming white, blue, pink, or red.
“D” – diameter that is bigger than a pencil eraser.
“E” – evolving moles that have changed in size, symmetry, border, or color.
How Often Should I Get Skin Cancer Screening?
Any time you notice any of the skin cancer signs above, it is time to call Goldenberg Dermatology in NYC for a professional skin cancer screening. However, regular ‘routine’ skin cancer screening in a dermatologist’s office is also necessary to ensure that any issue is caught early.
The American Cancer Society recommends that both men and women between the ages of 20 and 40 get a medical skin cancer examination every three years. After age 40 this recommendation increases to once a year.
People with risk factors, those who spend a great deal of time in the sun (such as construction workers or landscapers), and anyone with a family history of skin cancer may need to be screened more frequently than once a year.
Advanced Nevisense Melanoma Screening
Goldenberg Dermatology is the very first clinical practice in the USA and NYC to use the revolutionary Nevisense Melanoma Detection Device. This advanced, non-invasive technology provides earlier and more accurate diagnosis of melanomas and abnormal moles right in the office. Results are immediate with Nevisense, so patients do not have to wait several days for biopsy results.
Nevisense delivers painless electrical signals to the skin to collect vital information regarding melanoma and abnormal moles. This enables Dr. Goldenberg to measure and examine any suspicious lesions at their deepest levels to gather vital information.
This advanced and accurate diagnosis technology is one of many reasons that NYC patients should trust their skin cancer screening to specialized, board certified dermatologist Dr. Gary Goldenberg.
What are the Risk Factors for Skin Cancer?
Everyone is potentially at risk for skin cancer, regardless of age or race. Even people with Black and Brown skin are at risk. The risk of developing a potentially deadly form of skin cancer called “melanoma” doubles with every 10 years of an adult’s life.
Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is the number one cause of skin cancer, and UV rays are present even on cold or cloudy New York days. So, limiting sun exposure, and wearing a high SPF sunscreen everyday is one skin cancer risk factor everyone can control.
The three most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma. These cancers are the result of genetic predisposition (heredity) combined with overexposure to the sun.
Tanning booths, exposure to radiation, and living at high altitudes also increase a person’s risk of skin cancer. Living, working, or spending time in areas with a lot of water, snow, sand, or concrete – all of which reflect the sun’s rays – further increases one’s risk of developing skin cancer.
Sun Safety Practices
It is not enough to apply sunscreen only when the sun is bright. UV rays are actually invisible and can damage the skin in as little as 15 minutes of exposure. Apply 30 SPF or higher sunscreen to every exposed part of the body at least 15 minutes before going outside – even when it’s cloudy. This includes feet, hands, ears, back of the neck! Reapply sunscreen every two hours – as well as after sweating, swimming, or toweling off. Also use a lip balm with 30+ SPF protection, as cancer of the lips is common.
If you’re going to spend prolonged time outside, cover up with pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and a wide-brimmed hat whenever possible. Try to stay in the shade or sit under an umbrella. And wear glasses and sunglasses that provide 100% UVA and UVB protection.
And it goes without saying to skip the tanning beds! Indoor tanning beds emit UV radiation amounts that are 10 to 15 times higher than the sun at its peak intensity. Almost 420,000 cases of skin cancer are linked to indoor tanning in the United States every year. Despite what the tanning industry will tell you, there is simply NO “safe” way to tan (other than self-tanning products).
What to Expect During Skin Cancer Screening
While any doctor can perform a skin cancer exam, screening by a dermatologist like Dr. Gary Goldenberg in NYC is ideal. Thorough skin cancer screening will consist of an examination of the skin, from the bottoms of the feet to the top of the scalp. The doctor should even look under the nails, between the fingers and toes, and behind your ears. Tools like a bright light or handheld magnifier may be used to investigate suspicious areas in greater detail.
If nothing looks suspicious, the skin cancer screening exam should only take about about 15 minutes. If a suspicious spot that could be cancerous or pre-cancerous is noticed, a picture will be taken, and Dr. Goldenberg will either perform a painless Nevisense test or take a biopsy (small tissue sample).
Nevisense results are available almost immediately in office. Biopsies will be sent to a lab, and results usually take about a week. Our staff will notify you once they’re available. If the spot is determined to be cancerous, Dr. Goldenberg will have you return to discuss treatment options. Remember, when identified very early skin cancer treatment has a 99% success rate!
Skin Cancer Screening NYC
The skin is the largest organ of the body – tirelessly shielding the body against external invaders, protecting the internal organs, regulating body temperature, and preventing moisture loss. Performing self-exams and scheduling regular skin cancer screening at Goldenberg Dermatology in NYC ensures that any skin cancer is caught at its earliest stages. This gives you the best chance at a full and rapid recovery!
Schedule a skin cancer screening at Goldenberg Dermatology in NYC today and give yourself the best chance at living a long, healthy, and skin cancer-free life.