While skin cancer is highly prevalent and incidence rates are rising, it also remains one most treatable types of cancer. But you need to remain vigilant about your skin and share any changes or concerns with your doctor before they become bigger problems.
In fact, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. However, the disease is 95 percent curable if diagnosed early.
“Staying vigilant about the health of your skin is crucial to early diagnosis and more effective intervention,” says L. Michael Hone, President and CEO of Caliber Imaging and Diagnostics, a medical technology company that develops diagnostic tools for skin diseases.
It’s all about regular screenings, says Hone, who recommends making an appointment with your dermatologist on an annual basis.
Though the incidence of skin cancer in the United States is on the rise, there’s good news -- new innovations in skin cancer detection are making thorough, regular screenings easier for patients.
For example, the VivaScope, by Caliber I.D., offers a noninvasive optical biopsy of the skin, so patients don’t need to have any portion of their skin cut or removed to check for cancer and can receive results immediately. As the only FDA 510(k) cleared, noninvasive skin imaging technology that enables physicians to make an accurate diagnosis of skin diseases through the direct visualization of cells, it is used for the diagnosis of melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, as well as for the accurate noninvasive diagnosis of benign lesions and dermatoses.
At your next doctor’s visit, here are topics to discuss regarding your risks of developing skin cancer and what you and your doctor can do to check for it:
• Risk: While anyone can develop skin cancer, the risk is elevated by overexposure to harmful UV rays, a family history of the disease and a lighter complexion. Ask your doctor to assess your risk and offer you ways of mitigating the threat.
• Self-exam: Between doctor’s visits, you can perform self-exams on a monthly basis. Using a full-length mirror as well as a handheld mirror, look for changes in your skin that could be indicative of skin cancer. Don’t forget to check your scalp and nail beds of your toes and fingers. Your doctor can offer you guidelines for what to look for and how.
• Screening: Ask your doctor about innovations in skin cancer detection that offer a noninvasive alternative to a biopsy. More information can be found at www.caliberid.com.
By being informed and inquisitive, you can make the most of your next visit to the doctor.