Skin checks allow you and your dermatologist to know the state of your skin. Having a baseline assessment and follow-up checks are important ways to understand your risk for skin cancer as well as detecting any atypical skin growths. Early detection provides the best chance for successful treatment.
What is a Skin Check?
A dermatologist checks and evaluates your skin for unusual changes that can be precancerous or skin cancer. It is best to have a baseline skin check by your dermatologist as a young adult, or earlier if you have a family history of melanoma.
How Often Should You Go To a Dermatologist for a Skin Check?
While anyone can get skin cancer, there are certain skin types that have a greater risk associated with them. Once your dermatologist determines your risk, you will be given a recommendation on how often to examine your skin.
Those at high risk may need to be assessed every few months by a dermatologist. Those at a lower risk may need to be checked every year or two by a dermatologist.
You can also check your skin at home and contact your dermatologist if you see or feel something new or abnormal.
What Are Skin Cancer Risk Factors?
- Skin type: If you have fair skin you are at greater risk for skin cancer. However, you can have dark skin and still get skin cancer.
- Geography: Rays are stronger if you are closer to the equator or live at a high elevation.
- Exposure to UV Rays from the sun: The amount of sun exposure and sun burns can contribute to risk.
- Genetics: If you have a family history of skin cancer, you are a more likely candidate for skin cancer.