Scheduling your yearly appointment with your dermatologist is a great way to ensure that your skin and you stay healthy, but it’s not enough. Many people wait for their doctor to take the lead in the discussion about their own health. Speak up! Don’t wait for the doctor to ask you what brings you in today. After all, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the Unites States resulting in more than 3.5 million new cases a year, but it’s also the most preventable.
Write-down the questions you have for your doctor so you don’t forget. If you don’t know what to ask start with the questions listed below. They just might save your life.
- How do I know if I am high risk for getting skin cancer?
- How can I reduce my risk of skin cancer?
- What are some of the signs of skin cancer?
- How often should I have my moles checked?
- If I have a lot of moles, what is the best way for us to keep track of them?
- How do you know if a mole has changed from visit to visit?
- What is the best sunscreen to use for my skin type and should I use it every day or only when I go to the beach?
- Are there other precautions I can take to protect myself from the sun?
- If I have a dysplastic mole (atypical or abnormal) will it turn into cancer?
- Is there a way to check or monitor a suspicious mole without having to biopsy it?
- Is there anything I can do to reverse the damage the sun has already done to my skin?
The Skin Cancer Foundation says:
Performed regularly, self-examination can alert you to changes in your skin and aid in the early detection of skin cancer. It should be done often enough to become a habit, but not so often as to feel like a bother. For most people, once a month is ideal, but ask your doctor if you should do more frequent checks.
Frequent self exams and full body examinations by your dermatologist will help you detect anything suspicious early on and could save your life.
Tell us: have you had any experience with skin cancer?