Your skin is the largest organ in your body, but it’s often the most forgotten. The truth is that your skin’s health matters. Skin cancer is one of the deadliest cancers, but it can be prevented by protecting your skin and visiting your dermatologist. You are probably wondering, how often should you go to the dermatologist? In this blog, we guide you through the process you should be going through to keep your skin healthy.
It can be shocking to hear the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force doesn’t recommend an annual skin screening for cancer unless you are at high risk of getting skin cancer, but it’s true. This leads us with more questions, how often should you get checked for skin cancer? who are the people who are at high risk? Those that have a history of skin cancer in their family and those with moles and changing spots.
Despite this, dermatologists still recommend yearly skin examinations. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to skin cancers like melanoma. The recommended screening is a full body check as a young adult. Early adulthood is when you want to get this type of screening, but it doesn’t mean that your skin is safe when you are younger. It’s important to teach children the importance of protecting their skin and how to do it properly.
While melanoma is the deadliest and most common form of skin cancer, basal and squamous cell carcinoma should also be taken into consideration. Skin cancers spread to large areas of the body, which will make removal evident.
The population with the highest risk for developing cancer is fair-skinned people with Type 1 or Type 2 skin. If you have Type 1 or Type 2 skin, you will:
- Have difficulty tanning
- Be susceptible to sunburn
- Have blue eyes
- Have light hair
- Have freckles
History of Skin Cancer
If you have a history of skin cancer or a close relative that has had skin cancer, you should visit the dermatologist every 6 to 12 months. Multiple sunburns and using tanning beds also put you at great risk of developing skin cancer.
If your job or occupation requires you to spend long periods of time outdoors, then you need to pay close attention to your skin due to your constant exposure to harmful UV rays.
Those with compromised immune systems are also at risk due to their inability to fight off potential cell mutations.
The question, how often should you go to the dermatologist? really depends on the risk factors you show.
To ensure you check for the right things when looking over your skin, here is an easy way to remember what to look for: (ABCDE)
- Changes in Border
- Changes in Color
- Changes in Diameter
- Evolving moles
A dermatologist isn’t the only one that can spot signs of skin cancer, you can too by checking for these changes. It’s important to constantly check for signs of change in your skin. Keep up with these self-checks, otherwise, you won’t know if something has been there for a while or not. Look out for any area that is bleeding or itching.
How to Protect Your Skin
Here are a few easy ways you can keep your skin healthy and lower your chances of developing skin cancer:
- Wear SPF when spending time outdoors
- Visit your dermatologist for a skin cancer screening
- Self-examine often (quarterly at least)
- Cover your skin with protective clothing to avoid sun exposure (some clothes have SPF)
Find a Dermatologist That You Are Comfortable With
Full body examinations are thorough, meaning that the doctor will have to view all of your skin even the parts that are usually covered by clothing. This can be unnerving, but it’s a small inconvenience in order to detect any abnormalities before they become deadly. Remember that if the doctor does find something, it’s not the end of the world. Skin abnormalities like cancers have treatment options in the early stages, which is why it’s important to get this kind of skin exam. Finding a dermatologist near you that you’re comfortable with is key. Trust you’ll find the best dermatologist with Beaumont Dermatology & Family Practice. Contact us today.