I’ve Had Skin Cancer Before. How Often Should I Get Skin Cancer Screenings?
One skin cancer diagnosis is upsetting enough, but finding out that you're more susceptible to getting it again is even more so. Unfortunately, that's what the research has shown over the years. Our team at Skin Center of South Miami wants to give you the information you need to know about how often you should receive a skin cancer screening. Continue reading to find out how often you should make an office visit and what to do in between them.
So, How Often Should I Get Skin Cancer Screenings?
Typically for those who have never experienced any kind of skin cancer, we encourage an annual visit to get screened. However, for those who have been diagnosed prior, we encourage multiple visits a year to ensure your skin is healthy and cancer free. On the low end for a typical skin cancer patient who has recovered, we recommend a minimum of two screening visits a year. However, considering various other factors, it may benefit you to have more for at least the first year after recovery to be sure your skin cancer isn't coming back. While there is no guarantee that if you are clear a year after recovery that it won't come back, it is a good benchmark. And lack of recurrence likely indicates you are continuing good practices of keeping your skin out of excessive sun exposure.
What Factors Might Increase My Need for Skin Cancer Screenings?
Outside of having skin cancer prior, other factors can make you more susceptible to the disease that you need to be aware of. Things like skin tone, genetics, organ transplants, and various lifestyle factors can all increase your risk of skin cancer, especially after receiving a prior diagnosis. Individuals with lighter or fairer skin tones need to be especially careful as their skin has less melanin present. This is the pigment that assists the skin with repelling the sun's rays. Furthermore, if skin cancer is prevalent in your family, some research has shown that the odds of acquiring it may have been passed on to you.
All of these factors need to be considered alongside your prior diagnosis, and if you have many of these aspects present in your life, you should probably increase the number of times you receive skin cancer screenings each year. Ask our team for specifics.
What Can I Do In Between Visits?
For those who have had skin cancer before, we recommend doing monthly self-checks on your skin. Look for any blemishes or skin changes that could indicate a return of skin cancer. If anything looks even remotely similar to your first period going through it, you should get screened. Otherwise, practice good habits when it comes to applying sunblock and removing yourself from extensive sunlight for long periods.
If you'd like to know more or have some concerns you'd like to discuss, please don't hesitate to contact us! At the Skin Center of South Miami, we want all our patients, longstanding or new, to know that they have a compassionate resource through us. Schedule a visit at our South Miami, FL, location today by calling us at 305-740-6181.