Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States – over 2 million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year! Thankfully, when caught early, skin cancer is highly treatable. Skin cancer screening takes only a few minutes, but can save your life. We recommend that all patients visit at least once yearly to have their skin checked; our patients with a history of skin cancer or precancerous lesions will be instructed to visit us for screening more often. Skin cancer screening is a non-invasive pain-free procedure, meaning that (unlike other types of cancer screening), the initial exam is largely visual. Both Dr. Tareen and PA Lauren Sundick are highly trained in performing skin cancer screenings, in order to catch skin cancers early and treat them appropriately.
If a possible skin cancer is identified, a small sample will be taken of the skin. This is usually only a tiny area and does not require a major procedure. The small sample is then evaluated under the microscope by a dermatopathologist, who will identify all skin cancers and precancerous lesions with certainty. If the small sample turns out to be a benign lesion, no further treatment is necessary. If the sample turns out to be a precancer or skin cancer, we will review the appropriate steps for treatment.
Now is the time to schedule your skin cancer screening. You should have your screening at the same time each year, so that you don’t forget! We recommend visiting before the hectic holiday season sets in.
In addition to your yearly skin cancer screening, it is imperative that you check your own skin monthly. Here is an easy to read chart about the ABCDE’s of skin cancer, so that you know exactly what features to look for in your moles. However, the bottom line is that any changing mole, new bump, or non-healing patch on the body should be promptly evaluated.