According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, over 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year in more than 2 million people. It’s a sobering statistic but one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.
Contour Dermatology diagnosed more than 2,000 skin cancers last year and approximately 100 cases of malignant melanoma. The importance of wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day cannot be overemphasized. Lengthy time spent outdoors requires taking even greater precautions. Diligence also needs to extend to performing regular self-examinations of the skin and scheduling a yearly routine dermatologist visit. These critical steps increase the chances of detecting skin cancer early, before treatment becomes more challenging.
What to look for
Basically when you perform a monthly self-examination, you’re looking for changes in the shape or size of spots or moles and other irregularities. Focus on your neck, chest and torso, and use a bright light, full-length mirror, hand-mirror and blow dryer to inspect hard-to-see areas such as the scalp and back of the neck. If you can, enlist a spouse or partner to help you.
Get an annual screening
A professional skin cancer screening is an easy, non-invasive two to three minute visual inspection of the entire body by a specialist trained in the diagnosis and treatment of skin diseases and conditions. Here at Contour, we diagnose and treat thousands of cases of pre-cancerous skin lesions which can turn into skin cancer if left untreated.
If skin cancer is detected and it is basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma, there are surgical and non-surgical options available. Dr. Timothy Jochen is an expert in a procedure known as Mohs Micrographic surgery. This specialized, highly effective technique for the removal of skin cancer has an almost 100% success rate causing minimal tissue loss and pleasing esthetic results. Performed as outpatient surgery, Mohs permits the immediate and complete microscopic examination of the removed cancerous tissue, so that all traces of the cancer can be eliminated at the time of the procedure.