Here in Phoenix, Arizona, residents are exposed to considerably more ultraviolet radiation than people in most parts of the country, and this has resulted in a large number of individuals developing skin cancer or precancerous growths. As a result, it is important for local residents to stay vigilant in preventing the development of skin cancer and to report any possible symptoms of skin cancer to their doctor as quickly as possible.
Skin Cancer Screenings
Affiliated Dermatology performs skin exams and biopsies that can quickly determine whether a patient is at risk of developing skin cancer or has already developed the disease. Skin cancers are generally curable if caught early. However, people who have had skin cancer are at a higher risk of developing a new skin cancer, which is why regular self-examination and doctor visits are imperative.
A skin cancer screening is a visual inspection of your skin by one of our skin care providers. The screening usually takes 10 minutes, or longer if the provider sees any moles that look unusual. You’ll take off all of your clothes and put on a medical exam gown. Your provider will ask if you have any moles that concern you. Then, they will look at every inch of your body — from your face, chest, arms, back, and legs to less-visible places like your scalp, between your toes, and the soles of your feet. No blood work is conducted at a screening and should be performed by a professional at least once a year if not twice a year for most patients.
How to Check Yourself For Skin Cancer
The American Academy of Dermatology has developed the following ABCDE guide for assessing whether or not a mole or other lesion may be becoming cancerous.
- Asymmetry: Half the mole does not match the other half in size, shape or color.
- Border: The edges of the mole are irregular or blurred.
- Color: The mole is not the same color throughout.
- Different: The mole does not look similar to other moles on the body.
- Evolving: The mole is changing is size, shape or color, becoming larger, or bleeding.
If any of these conditions occur, please make an appointment to see one of our dermatologists right away. The doctor may do a biopsy of the mole to determine if it is or isn’t cancerous.
Roughly 90% of non-melanoma cancers are attributable to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. The best way to prevent skin cancer is to limit exposure to sunlight. Having a suntan or sunburn means that the skin has been damaged by the sun, and continued tanning or burning increases the chance of developing skin cancer.
- Always use sunscreen, at least 30 SPF UVA/UVB
- Wear a wide brim hat and sunglasses
- Avoid midday sun exposure – the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Avoid tanning booths
- Perform self examinations once a month
- Schedule an annual full body skin exam with your dermatologist
*American Cancer Society, Skin Cancer Facts
Request an Appointment Online
For more information or to schedule an appointment at one of our six offices, please contact us by calling (480) 556-0446, requesting your appointment online, or by leaving us a message on our contact form.