About Skin Cancer Screenings
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. The high prevalence of skin cancer makes receiving regular skin cancer screenings a must, especially if you have a personal or family history of skin cancer. Early detection is the key when it comes to giving you more treatment options and better outcomes. Along with many advanced skin cancer treatments, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Adean Kingston offers comprehensive full body skin cancer screening examinations and biopsies of abnormal lesions. To schedule a skin cancer screening exam, contact Adean Kingston, M.D., PLLC in Dallas, Texas.
Types of Skin Cancer
Dr. Kingston looks for the four main types of skin cancer during one of her routine screening appointments:
- Actinic Keratoses (AK): This precancerous lesion tends to form on areas of the skin that have been exposed to the sun, such as the head, neck, hands, and forearms. AKs appear as dry, reddish scaly patches that may be tender and are commonly deemed precancerous due to their potential to develop into squamous cell carcinoma.
- Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC): This is the most common type of skin cancer. BCC can form anywhere on the body and may appear as a pink area or a flesh-colored/pearl-like bump. BCC needs to be treated because it has the potential to grow downward into the nerves and invade deeper tissues such as muscle and even bone, causing damage and disfigurement.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC): This is the second most common form of skin cancer. Forming on skin that gets the most sun exposure, SCC appears as scaly patches; red, firm bumps; and/or sores that never heal and bleed. These should be removed to prevent metastasis (spreading of SCC to lymph nodes and other organs) as well as to limit skin disfigurement.
- Melanoma: This type of cancer may develop suddenly as a dark spot on the skin or as an atypical appearing mole. Dr. Kingston uses the ABCDEs to clinically detect melanoma — Asymmetry, Border, Color, Diameter and Evolution along with a dermatoscope which is a special handheld device that looks below the surface of the skin. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, melanoma accounts for only one percent of skin cancer cases but is the cause of the majority of skin cancer deaths. For this reason, melanoma should be treated as soon as possible after it is diagnosed.
WHO IS AT RISK?
Men and women of all ages are at risk for skin cancer. While those with fairer complexions are at greater risk, people of all skin types can develop skin cancer. Dr. Kingston recommends that every patient perform regular self-exams of their skin so they can know what is normal and what is not. You should schedule a skin exam anytime you are concerned about a spot on your skin changing, itching, or bleeding. Also, you should schedule an appointment for an annual skin cancer screening exam at our Dallas, Texas office, regardless if you suspect you have a concerning spot as Dr. Kingston may see something you were unaware was a lesion that needs biopsy and possible treatment.
CANCER SCREENING PROCESS
During your skin cancer screening, Dr. Kingston will check your full body for birthmarks, moles, and any abnormal lesions. She may use photographs to follow certain moles forward and then recheck them with photographic comparison at future screenings. Dr. Kingston can show you how to perform a self-examination between your appointments at Adean Kingston, M.D., PLLC.
In some cases, Dr. Kingston may recommend a biopsy of a suspicious mole or spot. If a tape biopsy is recommended, she will use specialized diagnostic tape pressed over the mole or lesion and send it for genetic expression testing that can diagnose skin cancer. Otherwise, if a more traditional shave or punch biopsy is recommended, she will numb the area, then remove the mole or suspicious lesion and send it to a Dermatopathologist for further evaluation. When Dr. Kingston receives your biopsy report, you will be contacted with the results and if treatment is needed, options will be discussed.
What to Expect
After your exam, Dr. Kingston will talk to you about your findings, any treatment recommendations, using sun precautions and let you know when you should return for your next skin cancer screening exam.
If you require a shave or punch biopsy of an abnormal lesion or mole, there is a risk of scarring. Dr. Kingston does her best to minimize the appearance of scarring and takes the smallest skin sample possible. She will go over the best way to care for your skin after the biopsy to help the area heal correctly. With good care, any scarring should be barely visible.
Early Detection is the Key
Understanding your risk and the importance of early detection is vital for the successful treatment of skin cancer. If you are due for a regular skin cancer screening, please contact our office in Dallas, Texas. Whether you are already seeing board-certified dermatologist Dr. Kingston for cosmetic treatments, are at high risk for developing skin cancer, or have concerns about an abnormal growth on your skin, schedule a skin cancer screening exam at Adean Kingston, M.D., PLLC.