For students, teachers, and people with kids, September is the start of a new year. And for many of us, we look at it as a time to get started on new projects and get caught up from the summer. So it makes sense that September is also a time that many people think about what health screenings they need to schedule. And while it can be done any time of the year, it is a great time to schedule your Skin Cancer Screening.
While some people think of going to the dermatologist as something to do for a specific problem like a rash, acne, or to get some Botox, a routine skin cancer screening can be a lifesaving event. A skin cancer screening is non-invasive – that is the dermatologist will visually inspect all of your skin to look for areas of concern. If a problem is identified, your dermatologist may suggest a biopsy to provide a definitive answer of the issue.
WHY? According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 1 in 5 people will develop some type of skin cancer in their life time. Once your dermatologist has the results of the biopsy, they can recommend proper treatment to cure the problem. The most serious skin cancer is Melanoma, but if it is identified before it spreads, it has a very high cure rate. In addition, there are a lot of things that we identify that, while not cancerous at present, have a significant chance of becoming so. Removal of these pre-cancers is one of the dermatologist’s most important functions. Early detection is always key!
So WHO should be screened and how often? Certainly anyone with fair skin who burns easily. But also anyone with risk factors such as multiple sunburns, living at the beach, or prior use of tanning beds should be screened annually. In addition, anyone with a family history of skin cancer, especially melanoma, should have an annual exam. Special cases like any one who is immunosuppressed, has a history of other cancers, or has Parkinson’s disease should also be screened. But really anyone who is concerned with health maintenance should consider an annual screening. Those who have had skin cancer already are typically seen twice or even three times per year.
Convinced of the importance? So now WHAT? Contact your dermatologist to make an appointment. At Fryer Dermatology, we have day and evening hours in both our offices and weekend hours in Bayside to accommodate your schedule. But remember like at any other specialist office, it may take a few weeks to find a time that works for you. While the exam itself may only take about 10 – 15 minutes, you also need to account for time to check in, get undressed, get dressed and check out. So make the appointment at a time when you won’t feel rushed.
WHERE? Each room in our office, as in most others, is private. You will get undressed and put on one of those highly flattering medical exam gowns, but rest assured we will do everything we can to make you feel comfortable and respect your privacy. When we do the exam, a Medical Assistant will be in the room with us to document what we see and hand things to the doctor as needed. We may want to look at a spot more closely and may use some magnification for a better view. If we find a spot of concern, we may want to take a sample to send to a specialized dermatological pathologist. Once we have those results we can tell you what treatment, if any, is needed.
Remember that emergencies do happen so if your doctor is running late, please be patient as we try to balance staying on time with not making you or any other patient feel rushed. And while we will try to answer any dermatological questions in that visit, we may need to ask that you schedule an additional appointment if you want to discuss certain conditions or treatments in greater depth. Things like in depth discussions about acne or cosmetic dermatology options may need an additional appointment.
So… WHO? You!
WHAT? Your non-invasive skin cancer screening.
WHEN? Every year starting NOW!
WHY? Because an annual screening gives you and us the best chance of catching a skin issue before it becomes dangerous.
And as always, don’t forget to wear your sun screen!
Want to schedule today? Call us or click here to request an appointment.