Protecting your skin from the sun is important, alongside the early detection of skin cancers provided by digital screening.
Skin cancer is a growing problem in the UK, 20% of the population will be treated for this during their lifetime. For the most serious form, malignant melanoma, more than 100,000 people are diagnosed each year, with over 2,500 fatalities.
The better news is that serious issues can be avoided, by early detection and often relatively minor intervention. Medical advances have seen the cure rates for almost all early stage skin cancers approach 100%.
Treating all types is important, melanoma is more serious but a range of conditions can cause damage and discomfort if left to develop.
Is Screening For Me?
The simple answer is that skin cancer screening is for all of us, not having an annual check is a missed opportunity. More regular checks may make sense for higher risk groups:
- Those with a family history of melanoma.
- If you have previously had a melanoma.
- Having a notably high number of moles.
- New moles which develop in adulthood.
- High sun exposure, or historic sunburn.
You could add moles, or lesions which develop in unusual ways, or people who are taking immunosuppresants, such as transplant patients. A range of factors can bring the need for an individually tailored screening program.
What Does Screening Involve?
In all cases, this is a fairly brief, quite pleasant process. The principles include sequential digital imaging, to spot change over time, along with an ability to see areas of concern on a microscopic scale. Core approaches are:
- Total Body Dermoscopy – To find and analyse anomalies in remarkable detail.
- Digital Mole Mapping – For monitoring changes in mole patterns over time.
- Annual Skin Cancer Checks – Individual examination, covering all concerns.
- Genetic Melanoma Testing – An addition for those with higher risk factors.
The latest dedicated software helps with analysis, as do the skills of a consultant specialising in skin cancer. Our Hertfordshire dermatology facilities allow for any required further investigation to take place in house.
How Do Patients Benefit?
Peace of mind is a welcome outcome, along with the knowledge that if an issue is found, immediate, skilled treatment is available.
Accurate screening will also reduce levels of treatment and lessen practical effects, such as time off work, or an inability to pursue activities. Above all, your health is being protected for the future.
Related health and skin issues can be discovered and discussed. Our focus is however on a significant condition, from which we all need protection. You are welcome to see more details on skin cancer screening at our clinic.