Skin Exams for Skin Cancer Screening

Newport Beach Dermatology and Plastic Surgery recommends a complete skin check yearly for all adults starting in the early 20s. This is because when detected early, most skin cancers can be successfully treated. Our team is highly trained to detect various skin abnormalities including eczema, basal cell carcinoma as well as melanoma. While melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer, it is highly curable when found and treated early. The five-year survival rate for people whose melanoma is detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes is 99 percent. Melanoma can occur at any age, but it drastically increases starting in the early 20s.

If you’re at increased risk for skin cancer, you may need an annual skin cancer screening exam. You may be at increased risk if you have:

  • Red or blond hair, fair skin, freckles and blue or light-colored eyes
  • More than 50 moles
  • History of frequent or intense sun exposure
  • One or more blistering sunburns
  • Family history of melanoma
  • Personal history of basal cell and/or squamous cell skin cancers

Most skin cancers fall into one of these three categories:

  • Basal cell: a slow-growing cancer that seldom spreads, signaled by an irregular spot on the skin
  • Squamous cell: more likely to spread, but much less common. Also starts as an irregular spot or patch of skin
  • Melanoma: makes up only 2 percent of cancers, but is the most aggressive. It starts with an irregular mole.
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