About Skin Cancer Screenings
During a skin cancer screening, our practitioners examine your skin, nails, and scalp for signs of precancerous and cancerous growths. The high prevalence of skin cancer today makes regular skin cancer screenings are a must, especially if you have a personal or family history of skin cancer. While skin cancer is often much more common among lighter-skinned people, it tends to be more deadly among darker skin tones due to the fact that it remains undetected until cancer (melanoma) has spread. No matter what skin color you have, it is important to see a board-certified dermatologist for an annual skin cancer screening to keep your skin healthy.
Discovering a malignancy early is key to giving you more treatment options and better outcomes. Along with many cutting-edge skin cancer treatments, Advanced Dermatology offers comprehensive skin cancer screenings and biopsies of abnormal areas. To schedule a skin cancer screening, contact one of our practices in our Katy, League City, Pearland, or Sugar Land, TX offices.
Types of Skin Cancer
We assess for four types of cancerous growths during a skin cancer screening:
- Actinic keratoses (AK): This type tends to form after the age of 40 years and on areas of the skin that have been exposed to the sun, such as the head, neck, hands, and forearms. AKs appear as dry, scaly patches and are commonly deemed precancerous because they have the potential to develop into squamous cell carcinoma.
- Basal cell carcinoma (BCC): This is the most common type of skin cancer. BCC can form anywhere on the body and may appear as a pink area or as a flesh-colored or pearl-like bump. BCC needs to be treated because it has the potential to grow into the nerves and bones, causing damage and disfigurement.
- Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC): This is the second most common form of skin cancer. Forming on the skin that gets the most sun exposure, SCC appears as scaly patches; red, firm bumps; and/or sores that heal and reopen. These should be removed to prevent damage and disfigurement.
- Melanoma: This type of cancer develops suddenly as a dark spot on the skin. Melanoma can be detected by the lesion's symmetry, border, color, diameter, and evolution. Melanomas are the most harmful to your health. For this reason, melanoma should be treated as soon as possible after it is diagnosed.
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Men and women of all ages are at risk for skin cancer. While people with fairer complexions are at greater risk, all skin tones and types can get skin cancer. All practitioners at Advanced Dermatology recommend that every patient should know how to perform regular self-exams of their skin so they know what is normal and what is not. You should schedule a skin exam anytime you are concerned that a spot on your skin has changed, itches, or bleeds. If you or a close relative have been diagnosed with skin cancer, then you should make appointments for annual skin cancer screenings.
During your skin cancer screening, your practitioner will check your full body for birthmarks, moles, and any abnormal areas. For your chart and health, we can create a mole map of spots to mark areas of concern and to easily identify trouble areas or new moles at future screenings.
In some cases, we may take a biopsy of a suspicious mole or spot. The area will be numbed before we biopsy (take off) a small sample. The biopsy will be sent to a pathology lab for analysis. When your practitioner receives your pathology report, you will be contacted with the results.
What to Expect
If you need a biopsy of an abnormal area, there is a risk of scarring. We will do our best to minimize the appearance of scarring and take the smallest skin sample possible during the biopsy. Then, we will go over the best way to care for your skin after the biopsy to help your skin heal correctly. With good care, any scarring should be flat and fade so it is barely visible.
After your exam, your practitioner will talk to you about your results and any recommended actions. We will also let you know when you should return for your next skin cancer screening.
Request A Life-Saving Screen
Understanding your risk and early detection are two important keys to the successful treatment of skin cancer. If you are due for a regular skin cancer screening, then please contact one of our four offices in the Greater Houston, TX area. Whether you are at high risk for skin cancer, or you have concerns about an abnormal growth on your skin, schedule a skin cancer screening at Advanced Dermatology in Katy, League City, Pearland, or Sugar Land, TX.
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