Who Should Have Annual Skin Cancer Checks?
Skin cancer can be deadly, but if caught early, it is almost always easy to treat. Most people are okay going to the dermatologist as needed. You might go when you notice a new mole, or when you think a mole has changed. There are, however, some instances in which it's a good idea to have regular, annual skin cancer checks at the dermatologist. Here are four categories of people for whom annual checks are a smart choice.
People who work outside.
If you work outside, you'll be exposed to a lot of sunlight, which increases your risk of skin cancer. It's wise to wear sunscreen and UV-resistant clothing to reduce your risk of skin cancer. However, you should also strongly consider seeing the dermatologist every year for skin cancer checks. They may notice something that you've overlooked, or they may identify a pre-cancerous lesion early on when it can be removed more safely and easily.
People who tan or have tanned.
Going to the tanning salon is not a smart choice if you are looking to keep your risk of skin cancer low. But if you do still choose to go to the tanning beds, at least do yourself the favor of having regular skin cancer checks. If you no longer go to tanning beds but regularly used them in the past, you should still see the dermatologist annually. Tanning while you're young still makes you more likely to develop skin cancer years later.
People with a family history of skin cancer.
Did someone in your family develop skin cancer? Even if they were able to be adequately treated for it, that means you may have a higher risk of skin cancer. Some skin cancers have a stronger genetic component than others, but it's always a good idea to play it safe and see the dermatologist every year.
People with a lot of moles and freckles.
People with more moles and freckles are more likely to develop skin cancer. You may not notice a new lesion because you already have certain moles. Or, one of your moles may become cancerous without you realizing. Having a dermatologist take a look once a year is a good way to stay safe.
Most dermatologists offer skin cancer screening and will be happy to schedule an annual visit for you. While you're in their office, give them more details about your history with sun exposure and family diagnoses so they can do the best job possible when caring for you. For more information, contact an examination service like Advanced Dermatology of Northern California.