May is SKIN CANCER AWARENESS MONTH- Q & A with Kristin Scord, PA-C

Why Are Skin Exams Important?
Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide.
Melanoma is one of the most dangerous cancer types, leading to thousands of deaths per year.
Skin exams are key in catching skin cancers and intervening early!
How Often Should This Be Done?
As a general rule of thumb, for all adults, skin cancer screenings/exams should be done annually.
-If you have a history of non-melanoma skin cancer (such as Basal Cell Carcinoma or Squamous Cell Carcinoma) or atypical nevi, this should be done every 6 months.
-If you have a history of melanoma, in general, this should be done every 3 months for 5 years after your diagnosis. Your dermatologist will help make the recommendation based on your exam and history.

How Should I Prepare?

Make note of any concerning lesions that you want to specifically address
Ideally, remove any nail polish and if possible, don’t wear makeup
Note that most skin exams are relatively brief, and your undergarments can be worn if you prefer
Exams can be done lying down, sitting, or standing if needed
Treatment plans moving forward would be based on your personal history, the current exam, and any biopsies or treatments that were needed
How Do I Know If My Moles Are Concerning?
The Skin Cancer Foundation at SkinCancer.org and the CDC have excellent guides for what to look for that typically follows the A-B-C-D-E guideline referring to Asymmetry, Border, Color, Diameter, and Evolution of a mole. This is a great tool to help you identify concerning lesions.
Here at NBDPS, we additionally have Fotofinder, a confidential whole-body imaging series to help track moles and changes! Over time, these high-resolution photos give your provider the ability to compare your moles digitally with digital photos from your initial visit, and immediately identify new moles or changes to existing moles on your body. This is highly recommended in individuals who have multiple moles (more than 50), a history of skin cancer in your family, already had a melanoma, have large moles (more than 2 inches in diameter), or have a history of severe blistering sunburns. We have detected numerous very small, very early melanomas based on this non-invasive imaging information.
How Can I Protect Myself?
Sun-protective measures are important–wearing hats, sun-protective clothing, and daily sunscreen use. Ideally, sunscreen should be SPF 35+ with a mineral base of titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide. Your provider might recommend protective supplements like Heliocare as well if you have high sun exposure due to occupation or hobbies.

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