A skin cancer screening is a simple, low-cost way to detect skin cancer and help prevent cancer from developing. During a skin cancer screening, your doctor will use a device called a digital dermatoscopy to look for signs of skin cancer. Most skin cancers are easy to detect early and can be treated with surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy. Early detection is key to improving your chance of a successful treatment.
Some common signs of skin cancer include a mole that is changing, a mole that is growing rapidly, a mole that is red, painful, or irritated, or an area of skin that is swollen. If you have any of the mentioned symptoms, continue reading to know what to expect with your first skin cancer screening.
Why Should You Get a Skin Cancer Screening?
There are numerous advantages to regular skin cancer screenings. People who got screened for skin cancer avoided serious health issues because of early detection. Here are key reasons to get screened:
1. Early detection can save your life
If you have cancer before it has spread, your chances of surviving are much higher than if the cancer is detected later in the disease process. Early detection is also important for people who have cancer that is in an early stage, as treatment is more likely to be successful. As long as the skin cancer clinic you visit provides extensive screening, the possibility of you developing any life-threatening skin cancer is unlikely.
2. Screening can help prevent more serious problems
If you have cancer, screening can help you find and treat it early, before it has spread. Screening can identify cancer early when it is more treatable, and many people who are screened are more informed on how to properly care for their skin to become less prone to cancer. Those who are at risk can also know that they are more prone to it and could adjust their lifestyle and be more proactive in scheduling frequent screenings.
What Are the Risks of a Skin Cancer Screening?
1. A skin cancer screening may cause scarring
Scarring may occur as a result of skin cancer screening. Scarring can cause pain and difficulty with activities especially when the skin cancer screening is done in parts of the skin that may affect breathing, walking and other activities. It might also lead to infections and other medical problems. If you are worried about the potential for scarring from a biopsy, talk to your doctor.
2. False-negative and false-positive test results may occur
False-negative and false-positive test results can occur when a test is not accurate or when the results do not reflect the true condition of the patient. These inaccurate test results can be frustrating for patients and doctors and definitely affect the patient’s frame of mind especially since cancer is a scary disease to contract.
When you go for skin cancer screening, it’s probably because you are already concerned about a symptom. Don’t delay the test and once you get the results from your doctor or dermatologist and it’s concerning, talk to your family and friends about the results.