Skin Checks

Many people do not believe that skin cancer is a condition they should be concerned about. Little do they know according to The Skin Cancer Foundation at least 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age 70 making skin cancer the most common type of cancer. In fact skin cancer is more common than every other type of cancer combined. Skin cancer knows no bounds!

Thankfully, your dermatologist can provide you with a cancer screening; a quick, painless, and effective way to prevent and diagnose skin cancer. These annual exams allow for early detection and an even more effective intervention. At Park Ave. Derm we offer the most thorough skin exam appointments for our patients.

What Happens During a Skin Check?

Most full-body skin screenings take as little as ten to 15 minutes to complete. You will be asked to remove your clothes and change into a medical gown before the exam begins. Then, your dermatologist will examine areas such as your scalp, behind your ears, your arms, your fingers, and your feet (even between your toes). They may use a dermatoscope to get a closer view of certain spots and moles which may look suspicious on first glance.

Remember to remove any fingernail and toenail polish before your appointment. While rare, skin cancer can develop underneath your nails, so it is important to have these areas checked outannually.

Skin checks are also a great opportunity to look for precancerous growths and other types ofchanges associated with sun damage that may have the potential to develop into cancer. During these visits Dr. Glodny and Dr. Warner take time to evaluate any of your other skin concerns as well.

How Often Do I Need a Professional Skin Exam?

Most often Dr. Glodny recommends his patients to schedule a skin examination once per year. However, this time frame can vary based on your age, skin cancer history, and other risk factors. For example, people who have already had skin cancer should be checked every three to six months. And if you notice a change in a mole or a new lesion, you should come in sooner. If you see something, SAY SOMETHING, to your dermatologist.

Keep in mind that you should supplement professional skin cancer screening with self-exams. Look at your entire body from head to toe with the help of full-length and hand-held mirrors. Be sure to perform your self-exam under good lighting, and don’t forget areas like your scalp.

Understanding the Different Types of Skin Cancer

The three main types of skin cancer are:
● Basal cell carcinoma (most common cancer of all)
● Squamous cell carcinoma
● Melanoma
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. Meanwhile, melanoma is arguably the most well-known. It’s also the most dangerous since it can spread and become life threatening if not diagnosed in a timely manner.

What Are the Warning Signs of Melanoma?

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that develops in the pigment-producing cells called melanocytes. It is less common than other forms of skin cancer however it is absolutely the most dangerous. Therefore, it is important to know the warning signs of melanoma to look for when performing self-exams.

Melanoma indicators are easy to remember using the mnemonic ABCDEs:

● Asymmetry: One-half of the spot doesn’t match the other.
● Border: The outside of the spot is irregular, wavey, or poorly defined.
● Color: The spot has varying colors from one area to the next.
● Diameter: The spot is larger than 6mm across (the width of a pencil eraser).
● Evolving: The spot appeared suddenly or has changed over time.
Keep in mind that skin cancer, including melanoma, is highly treatable when caught early. On average, the estimated five-year survival rate for melanomas detected while still localized is very high. It is about 99 percent in the U.S., according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

How to Reduce Your Skin Cancer Risk

The following steps may help reduce your risk of developing skin cancer:
● Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants with UPF protection.
● Protect your face and ears with a wide-brimmed hat.
● Wear UV-blocking sunglasses.
● Walk and relax in the shade rather than direct sun light.
● Purchase a high-quality sunscreen which you will wear consistently. Park Ave. Derm’s go-to sun screens includes those from the brands EltaMD® and ISDIN®. In particular, Dr. Glodny LOVES a tinted sun screen. His favorite being Elta MD clear tinted SPF 46 (link to store)

Unfortunately, you can get still skin cancer even if you do everything possible to protect yoursskin from harmful UV rays. For this reason, scheduling your skin exams regularly should be a part of your health maintenance routine.

Be Proactive About Your Skin Health

Skin cancer screening is an important part of every comprehensive skin health plan. If you need to schedule a professional skin examination or want to learn about the best appointment frequency for your unique situation, Contact us at Park Avenue Dermatology at 212-752-3692.

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New York, NY 10065

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