The message from Melanoma UK is understandable, we all put things out of mind, not least illness which seems to have gone away.
A key problem is that skin cancer may not go away. The elements which caused this remain in place, from past sun exposure, to genetics and the fact you have had one skin cancer makes another more likely.
Take a look at the graph below, which relates to merkel cell carcinoma but similar patterns apply for other aggressive skin cancers:
The stage at which your previous skin cancer was diagnosed makes a difference. If stage 1, you have around a 75% chance of staying cancer free, for stage 4 the position reverses, with a 75% chance of seeing another.
Even so, the pattern for recurrence follows a clear path for all cases. Time does not reduce likelihood, with the level at 2 or 3 years much the same as 10 years.
The feeling that having been clear for a few years, you can forget the issue is a natural reaction. We wish this were true but as in the data above, reality does not match the ideal outcomes we would all prefer.
Balancing this against the point Melanoma UK made is important, we miss skin check ups when they are as needed as ever.
Striking A Balance
The fact that early diagnosis reduces recurrence is a good pointer to screening for everyone, regardless of previous incidence. For those who have had skin cancer, there honestly is no other rational choice.
We do not want people feeling constantly worried, treatment has improved, so have survival rates. Skin cancer may have increased in recent years but is more manageable than ever, as long as you help yourself.
Our London clinics can assist if you wish but wherever you are, please keep appointments you are offered, or if not, find a good nearby specialist.
Take a look at a few details on skin cancer screening, which includes proven procedures and a program tailored to you. A couple of visits a year will take less than 2 hours, if you have had a skin cancer, they will be well spent.