You’ve had your skin since the day you were born, so it’s probably safe to say you’re pretty familiar with your freckles and moles, right? Maybe you’re even diligent about skin self-checks every year, checking for the A-B-C-D-E’s:•
Even so, it's important to get your skin checked at least once a year by a medical professional. They’re trained to look for more than just obvious abnormalities in skin and can answer any questions you may have about questionable spots. Here are a few more reasons you should get a yearly skin screening.
1. Skin cancer is dangerous.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more than 3.5 million skin cancers are diagnosed in the U.S. every year. It’s the most common form of cancer in the United States and the number of women under 40 who are diagnosed each year has more than doubled in the past three decades. Every hour, one person in the U.S. dies from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
2. But with early detection, it can be stopped.
When skin cancer is caught early, there’s a 98% (or greater) chance that it can be cured. There are several different types of skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma and all have a much higher cure rate early detection and proper treatment.
3. Abnormalities can be hard to spot.
Sure, you’ve checked your arms, legs and torso for any out-of-the-ordinary spots, but what about the roof of your mouth? Your scalp? In between your toes? A dermatologist knows where to look, and what to look for on your body to give you a greater chance of early detection. A trained medical professional can also tell the difference between a mole that might not be a typical benign type, but also isn’t life-threatening melanoma.
The best way to avoid skin cancer is to protect yourself from risk factors like UV light. Wear sunscreen, hats and protective clothing if you’re going to be out in the sun, and avoid tanning beds and sun lamps. Proper protection, along with annual screenings, will give your skin its best shot at staying healthy for your lifetime.