Skin Cancer: Why is early detection so important?

This month we are focusing on the awareness of Melanoma and Skin Cancer.  Skin cancer is by far the most common type of cancer in South Carolina and accounts for nearly half of all cancers in the United States, with Melanoma being the most serious type of skin cancer.  Melanoma will account for more than 76,000 cases of skin cancer in 2014, according to the American Cancer Society.

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends monthly head-to-toe self-examinations of your skin. This can help you find new or changing lesions that might be cancerous or precancerous. Skin cancers found early are almost always curable.

Regular self-examinations 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.

You may find it helpful to have a doctor do a full-body exam first, to assure you that any existing spots, freckles, or moles are normal or treat any that may not be. After the first few times, self-examination should take no more than 10 minutes – a small investment in what could be a life-saving procedure.

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