Do I Need a Skin Cancer Screening?

Scheduling a skin cancer screening is an important aspect of prevention and healthy living.

May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, which is a good time to consider the value of a skin cancer screening. Take a look at the facts below and think about whether you should visit your doctor for a check up.

• The American Academy of Dermatology’s “SPOT Skin Cancer” campaign  advises “prevent, detect, live” in regard to skin cancer. Even if you practice prevention—avoiding sun especially in the heat of the day, covering up and wearing sunscreen—it’s still recommended that you get a skin cancer screening as a means of monitoring the health of your skin and detecting any possible problems.

• The American Cancer Society recommends that people 20 years of age or older should have cancer related check-ups, including an exam for skin cancer.

• While doing self-exams and using a body map are important, research shows that even if you do, physicians are more likely to spot melanoma and other skin cancer and to detect it at an earlier stage. Considering some skin cancers are fast-growing and life-threatening, this is especially important.

• An increased risk of skin cancer means it’s even more important to be screened. Risk factors include:

  • Spending a lot of time outdoors without wearing sunscreen
  • Having fair skin
  • Being male
  • Being older
  • Having had a blistering sunburn in the past
  • Using a sunlamp or tanning booth

Be aware of any changes in your skin and always wear sunscreen outdoors. Contact your doctor or dermatologist to discuss when you should schedule a skin cancer screening. If you need to find a doctor, use our online Find a Physician service or call us at 1-855-80PLAZA for a physician referral.

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