May is Melanoma and Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, which makes
it the perfect time to consider how you’re managing your skin cancer
risk. Skin cancer screenings are essential to diagnosing cancer early
so you can get
urgent care before the disease spreads. Get the facts about these life-saving cancer
Screenings Are Only Visual
Some people avoid
skin cancer screenings because they are worried they will involve removing suspicious areas or
performing biopsies. In reality, the only thing that happens is a visual
inspection of your skin for indicators of cancer. Screenings take only
about 10 to 15 minutes each. If your doctor finds an area of skin that
he or she is concerned about, you will be referred for additional testing,
such as a biopsy, at a future appointment. The most effective type of
visual screening is a full body check, in which your entire body is examined
for evidence of skin cancer. If you attend a free screening event without
a private area, you may only receive a check of your exposed areas of skin.
You Can Perform Your Own Screenings
Monthly self-exams are a good way to monitor your skin between appointments.
Take note of any moles that seem to have changed or any lesions that you
can’t explain or that are resistant to healing. Be sure to pay close
attention to the bottoms of your feet and to use a mirror to check your
scalp, two areas where melanomas are common and can easily grow without
being detected. Report any concerning changes in your skin to your doctor.
Screenings Can Save Lives
Early detection and urgent care are critical to beating skin cancer, particularly
melanomas, which spread quickly. Specially trained doctors can spot the
telltale signs of skin cancer earlier than you can in self-exams, so make
professional screenings part of your skin cancer risk management strategy.
Regional Medical Center of San Jose provides comprehensive
cancer care in our hospital in San Jose, including surgery, radiation, and medical
oncology. You can get a referral to one of our physicians and learn more
the care we offer at our hospital by calling (888) 762-8881.