Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and approximately 5 million people are diagnosed each year. Risk factors include fair complexion, sun exposure over many years, a history of burns, and family history. Many people see their dermatologists for a new or changing skin lesion.
A study to be published in the International Journal of Women’s Dermatology this month revealed that a full body skin exam performed at the same appointment is twice as likely to detect skin cancer. More than half of the skin cancers discovered were not in the location the patient was concerned about. This included basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, as well as life threatening melanomas. The authors advise that the best way to detect skin cancer in patients with a suspicious lesion or significant risk for skin cancer is to have a complete skin exam. With the end of summer approaching, this is an opportune time to schedule a complete skin exam with your dermatologist.