One of the most important steps you can take for your skin health is to schedule regular skin cancer screenings with a board-certified dermatologist. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, but it is very treatable, especially when detected early. Especially for those in higher-risk groups, it is important to have your skin examined by a qualified dermatologist like Dr. Liz Damstetter at Reserve Dermatology.
Skin cancer screenings are examinations to check for signs of skin cancer before you exhibit symptoms. This is an important way to detect and diagnose skin cancer at an early stage should you develop the disease.
Because it is so beneficial to detect skin cancer at early stages, remember that if Dr. Damstetter suggests skin cancer screening, this does not mean she believes you are likely to have cancer. Screening is simply an important way to maintain your best possible health.
“Dr. Liz is truly the best dermatologist I’ve ever been to. She is attentive, kind, and genuinely cares about her patients and their overall skin health. I can not recommend her enough!!!”
“Wonderful experience here! The doctor took the time to educate me on a variety of cosmetic options and gave her candid opinion resulting in just the right amount of cosmetic adjustments! Her staff was delightful and attentive! I would highly recommend for general derm needs and cosmetic adjustments.”
“Dr. Damstetter was the first dermatologist I trusted to do my Botox. She is both knowledgeable and professional and did a fantastic job. I will be using her for any and all of my future needs.”
Before your skin cancer screening begins, Dr. Damstetter will ask if you have noticed any changing moles or other signs of skin cancer. Prior to your appointment, you should take note of any moles or growths that you have noticed.
To complete your skin cancer screening, you will then change into a medical gown. Dr. Damstetter will briefly examine your skin from head to toe, being sure to check areas that are difficult to see in a self-exam such as the scalp, between your toes, or the soles of your feet. A tool known as a dermatoscope may be used to visualize deeper structures of any skin growths to determine if any atypical features are present. This process typically takes no more than 10 minutes.
In addition to your professional skin cancer screenings, you should routinely perform self-exams at home. Check for the “ABCDE’s” of skin cancer—moles that are asymmetrical, changing borders, irregular color, diameters larger than a pencil eraser, or evolving shape, size, or color over time. In addition to irregular moles, learn the symptoms of various types of skin cancer, such as sores that do not heal. Take note of these signs and point out any abnormal moles or growths to Dr. Damstetter during your appointment.
Different types of skin cancer may have different symptoms that both you and Dr. Damstetter should look out for. These include:
- Unusual or changing moles
- White waxy lumps
- Brown scaly patches
- Firm red nodules
- Sores that do not heal
- Itching, bleeding, or pain in a growth or lesion
Can a dermatologist tell if you have skin cancer?
Dermatologists are the experts in skin cancer detection, diagnosis and treatment. A skin cancer screening exam consists of a dermatologist looking over the entire surface of your skin to determine if any abnormalities exist. Seek consultation with a board certified dermatologist if you suspect you may have a skin cancer or changing skin growth.
What are first signs of skin cancer?
Skin cancer often appears as a small mark or bump on the skin that slowly grows or changes color with time. The spot may bleed or fail to heal completely. Symptoms may include persistent itching or burning sensation, pain, rapid growth, and irregular color or borders. Skin cancers may look like normal spots to the untrained eye, so it is important to undergo a skin cancer screening exam periodically by a board-certified dermatologist.
Can skin cancer go away by itself?
Skin cancer will not go away without appropriate medical treatment. It is important to seek immediate care with a board-certified dermatologist if you are diagnosed with skin cancer or suspect you may have a skin cancer. If left untreated, skin cancers may grow large and invade deeper tissues to create chronic wounds. It is possible for untreated skin cancer to spread, or metastasize, throughout the body and lead to death.
Can a skin cancer look like a pimple?
Some forms of skin cancer can look like a reddened pimple somewhere on the body, but often are darker than the reddish pink of most pimples.
Can you have skin cancer for years and not know?
Maybe. Some forms of skin cancer do develop gradually, although the process may not take years to reach a stage where you begin experiencing symptoms.
If Dr. Damstetter notices signs of skin cancer, the next step is to perform a biopsy. This involves removing a sample of tissue from the growth or lesion so it can be tested in a laboratory. Skin cancer biopsies are performed under local anesthesia, so you will not feel pain as the tissue sample is removed. In some cases, the biopsy removes the entire growth, making further treatment unnecessary should you receive a skin cancer diagnosis. However, most patients will require follow-up treatments to completely remove the cancerous cells. Dr. Damstetter will explain your best treatment options once testing is complete and a diagnosis has been made.
To schedule a skin cancer screening with Dr. Damstetter, call Reserve Dermatology’s Glenview, Illinois office or contact us online.