EARLY DETECTION FOR SKIN CANCER

What is early detection or screening for a type of cancer?

Early detection or screening for a type of cancer is the process of looking for a specific type of cancer in its early stages, even before it causes any symptoms. In some types of cancer, the physician can evaluate which group of people is most at risk of developing a specific type of cancer because of their family history, because of diseases they have already had or because of habits they have, such as smoking, consuming alcohol or eating a diet rich in fats.

This is called risk factors and people who have these factors belong to a risk group. For these people, the doctor may recommend a particular test or examination for early detection of that cancer and how often this test or examination should be done. For most cancers, the earlier the cancer is diagnosed, the more likely this disease is to be fought.

What is the test for the early diagnosis of skin cancer?

Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers.  There are basically two types of skin cancer: non-melanoma, which is the most common and rarely causes death of the patient, and melanoma, which is rare, but is responsible for three of every four deaths from skin cancer .

Skin tumors usually have a long time between its appearance and its spread, allowing for the application of a test for detection at yet an early curable stage.
Because skin tumors are easily seen with the naked eye (without the use of special equipment), the physical examination (looking at the skin) can diagnose early skin cancer.
 
How does the doctor do this test?

A doctor or other health-care professional looks carefully for suspicious lesions throughout the skin area of the patient's body. In this examination, the doctor includes detailed search of lesions in areas most commonly exposed to the sun, since this type of cancer is associated with excessive exposure to sun, in addition to other areas hardly seen by patients, such as the back, scalp , between the toes and soles.

Some scientific studies have shown that creating programs for routine tests to look for suspicious lesions and training the population to look for suspicious lesions, as well as seeing a physician to get an accurate diagnosis, reduces mortality rates and diseases associated with this type of cancer.

However, further research is needed to say what is the best strategy for early detection and how often these tests should be redone.

What are the most common risk factors associated with skin cancer?

Race:

Skin cancer is more common in people with fair skin and lighter hair and eyes, who are easily red when exposed to the sun and often peeling off the skin easily after sunburning.

Age:

Melanoma increases rapidly after age 20 among white people.

Personal history:

People with certain types of moles (nevi), or have Dysplastic Nevus Syndrome are more likely to develop melanoma.

History of previous illnesses:

People who have had non-melanoma skin cancer are more likely than others to develop this type of cancer.

Exposure:

People who are exposed for long periods to the sun or x-ray or ultraviolet light are more likely to develop this type of cancer.

Questions you can ask your doctor

I always took plenty of sunshine and my skin always peels off in the summer. Should  I take some special kind of test because of that?
I have already had a skin cancer in the leg and have plenty of moles. Does this make me more likely to have another cancer?

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