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How Often to Visit a Dermatology Office for Skin Cancer Screenings?

Did you know that 20 percent of Americans develop skin cancer by age 70? Fortunately, when detected and treated early, skin cancer can be cured with today's innovative treatments. At Southside Dermatology & Skin Cancer Surgery Center in Tulsa, OK, your dermatologists, Dr. Alison Fischer and Dr. Robert Fischer, recommend annual skin cancer screenings for adults 40 and older.

Kinds of skin cancer and their risk factors

Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the top cancers in frequency. While occurring least often, malignant melanoma is the most insidious, invasive, and deadly. However, skin cancers can, fortunately, be cured when detected and treated in their earliest stages.

Accordingly, everyone should watch for signs and symptoms of cancer. Your friends at Southside Dermatology & Skin Cancer Surgery Center in Tulsa help their patients with simple, yet accurate, skin cancer screenings in the office and with treatments that really work.

Patient education is important, too. Know your risk factors, which include:

  • Genetics—that is, someone in your immediate family has had skin cancer
  • Blue eyes
  • Light-colored hair
  • Lightly-pigmented skin tone
  • Moles of larger size and number

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that sun exposure (UV radiation) is the biggest risk for skin cancer. Tanning, whether on a beach or in a tanning bed, is harmful as well.

Getting checked

There are two ways to check for skin cancer, and both are important for people ages 40 and older. The first is an annual skin cancer assessment with your dermatologist. This full-body exam visually assesses all areas of your body—even between your toes! Be sure to tell your skin doctor if you have moles that have changed in size, color, texture, or number, or if you have spots that itch, hurt, bleed, or ooze.

Also, perform an assessment once a month at home. Look at all of your skin, even your scalp. Use a mirror, or have your spouse help. Look carefully at moles. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) says to use this mnemonic:

  • A is for asymmetry. If bisected, a mole should be even on both sides. If one side is larger or irregularly shaped, it is suspicious.
  • B is for border. A healthy mole has smooth edges. Notches or scallops are abnormal.
  • C stands for color. Most moles are brown, black, or tan. Variegated colors, or white and/or blue, should be examined by your dermatologist.
  • D means diameter. If a mole is larger than a pencil eraser, it may be malignant.
  • E is for evolution. Scabbing, bleeding, or changes in color, texture, shape, or size are all signs of danger.

Stay on top of your skin health

Come to Southside Dermatology & Skin Cancer Surgery Center in Tulsa, OK for skin cancer screenings once a year. Dr. Alison Fischer or Dr. Robert Fisher offer state of the art treatments in a comfortable, friendly environment. Contact us at (918) 760-0700.

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