Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. Skin cancer is also the easiest cancer to cure if diagnosed and treated early.
When should I see my doctor?
Your dermatologist should see you once a year, more often if you have made a skin cancer. Show your doctor anything that concerns you—the earlier the better. Ask for a full skin check. Like most cancers, the earlier you detect skin cancer the simpler the treatment.
Who should do a self-skin examination?
Everyone should! It is particularly important for people with the following characteristics to do so.
- History of melanoma
- History of basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma
- Many moles or freckles
- Actinic keratoses (scaly spots on sun-exposed sites)
- Outdoor work or recreation
- History of sunburns or exposure to tanning bed
- Syndromes that increase the risk of skin cancer
- Taking immune suppressive medications, eg organ transplant patients
When should I examine my skin?
Skin self-examination should be done monthly.
What are the warning signs of skin cancer?
A spot or sore that:
- Itches or hurts
- Crusts or scabs
- Ulcerates or bleeds
- Fails to heal within three weeks
Be concerned by a lesion that looks different from your other skin spots. This is sometimes called an ugly duckling.