Skin self-exams are essential to maintaining healthy skin, but a regular check-up with a dermatologist is equally important for a more thorough examination of skin cancer. Patients should inform their medical professional of any atypical or changing moles during these exams. Perri Dermatology offers annual skin exam services for patients in The Woodlands, TX, Conroe, TX, and Spring, TX. Patients can trust us to provide comprehensive and professional care for all their skin concerns.
What Are the Risk Factors for Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer is a very real risk, especially in cities in the South. Although anyone can get skin cancer, there are a few risk factors that increase your chances. Patients with these risk factors should be proactive in their prevention, and treatment:
- Family History of Skin Cancer. If anyone in your family has skin cancer or a large number (usually over 100) of atypical moles, you should get an annual skin cancer screening. These people have an especially high risk of developing melanoma. When two or more family members develop melanoma, it is important for all of the patients’ close relatives (parents, brothers, sisters, and children above the age of 12) to visit their dermatologist for a skin cancer check for atypical moles or any signs of melanoma.
- Sun Exposure. If you are constantly exposed to UVA and UVB rays without the protection of sunscreen, your chances for melanoma are greatly increased. Patients who have had severe sunburns in their childhood have an even higher chance of developing skin cancer.
- Fair Skin. Most patients who develop skin cancer are very fair-skinned with light hair, blue or green eyes, and freckles. The chance of sunburns is much higher for these patients, and any moles should be carefully observed by a dermatologist.
While these are not the only factors that influence the development of skin cancer, if you have one or more of these features then an annual skin cancer screening is highly recommended.
What Can I Expect From An Annual Skin Exam?
A doctor may want to watch a slightly abnormal mole closely to see whether it changes over time. Anyone who has a large number of abnormal moles should also be regularly examined, which can be as often as twice a year for patients with more risk factors.
During your skin cancer check, sometimes a doctor decides that a mole should be removed so that the tissue can be examined under a microscope. The removal of a mole, called a biopsy, only takes a few minutes and is very common and usually performed in the doctor’s office.
After your biopsy, the mole will be sent to a pathologist to examine the tissue under a microscope and see whether the melanocytes are normal, dysplastic, or cancerous.
Learn the Benefits of an Annual Skin Exam with Dr. Perri
Early detection is key to skin cancer treatment. The earlier cancer is diagnosed, the higher your chances are for recovering completely with the least amount of surgical intervention and follow-up treatment. An annual skin cancer screening will allow your dermatologist to monitor any suspicious moles or discolorations before they turn harmful. Contact us today to schedule an annual skin exam with Perri Dermatology. We proudly serve patients in The Woodlands, TX, Conroe, TX, and Spring, TX. Schedule your exam by contacting (936) 522-4966.