Skin cancer affects more adults in the U.S. than any other type of cancer. Early detection of skin cancer can result in a better prognosis since treatment can begin early before cancer spreads. One way to detect skin cancer early is by undergoing a skin cancer screening regularly. At The Belleville Dermatology Center in Belleville, skin cancer screenings are performed by Dr. Joseph Eastern and our dermatology staff.
What are the risk factors for skin cancer?
There are several factors that can increase your risk of developing skin cancer, such as having a weakened immune system. Everyone should undergo an annual skin cancer screening, but it is especially critical for patients with any of the following risk factors:
- Family history of skin cancer
- History of past sunburns
- Excessive sun exposure
- History of using tanning beds
- Not using sunscreen regularly
- Having several moles on the skin
- Having fair skin
How can skin cancer screenings help?
Skin cancer screenings at our Belleville dermatology practice can help save your life. All skin cancer is serious, but some types are especially of concern. For example, melanoma is a rare type of skin cancer but is the most deadly. During a skin cancer screening, our dermatologist looks for possible signs of skin cancer. The earlier skin cancer is detected, the sooner treatment can begin and the easier it is to stop cancer from spreading.
What signs do you look for during a skin cancer screening?
There are several signs our dermatologist looks for when conducting a skin cancer screening. These signs can be an indication that skin cancer might be present. If you have had regular screenings, one sign that will be looked for is any change in your skin since your last screening. Other signs the dermatologist will look for include:
- Changes in the size, shape, or color of existing moles
- The formation of new moles on the skin
- Sudden itching or bleeding of existing moles
- The development of speckled brown spots on the skin
- Patches of pink or red scaly lesions on the skin
- Waxy, translucent cone-shaped growths on the skin
- Black or brown streaks under the fingernails or toenails
What happens if skin cancer is suspected during a screening?
If any signs of possible skin cancer are observed during a skin cancer screening, a biopsy can be performed to determine if cancer cells are present. If cancer is present, then a course of treatment will be recommended. Different treatment options are available and the appropriate course of treatment can depend on the type of skin cancer, as well as the seriousness of it. Skin cancer treatments include prescription medicated creams, radiation therapy, surgical excision, curettage and desiccation, cryosurgery, and Mohs micrographic surgery.
Undergoing skin cancer screenings regularly helps with early detection of the disease. Early detection is important for stopping the cancer from spreading. For skin cancer screenings in Belleville, NJ, schedule an appointment with Dr. Eastern by calling The Belleville Dermatology Center at (973) 751-1200.