Skin cancers are malignant tumors resulting from the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. In a healthy person, skin cells are regenerated regularly in a controlled manner. In a skin cancer patient, the DNA within the cells of the affected region gets damaged, and they proliferate in an uncontrolled manner, causing rapid mutation and tumor formation.
Skin cancer tumors can appear anywhere on the body but are more common on sun-exposed areas. They can be detected by a dermatologist during a skin exam.
SKIN CANCER SCREENINGS
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States.
At least one in five Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime.
More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the country than all other cancers combined.
Cure rates can approach 99% if the skin cancer is detected and treated in the early stages.
Sun damage to the skin is cumulative over a person’s lifetime, so the average risk of skin cancer also increases as we age.
The recent COVID-19 pandemic caused an abrupt drop in preventive cancer screenings performed across the United States. Skin cancer diagnoses in the United States dropped by an average of 46% compared to the same time in 2019. Because of delayed or missed screenings, some cancer cases could present at a later stage with worse outcomes.
Similar to scheduling your annual physical examination with your primary care provider or visiting your dentist for your annual checkup, it is equally important to conduct a self-examination of your skin every month and schedule a professional skin examination with your dermatologist once a year. If you have had skin cancer in the past or if you have a family history of skin cancer, we recommend skin exams once every six months.