The Importance of a Skin Screening after Skin Cancer
“Unfortunately, it has just become such an extremely common disease,” says Dr. Adam Mamelak, dermatologist and fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon in Austin, Texas. Research now show that 1 in 5 Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime, making skin cancer the most common form of cancer that affects humans.
“The numbers are really extraordinary!” exclaims Dr. Mamelak. It has been shown that almost fifty percent of Americans who live to age 65 will be diagnosed with skin cancer at least once. These trends are one major reasons why the American Academy of Dermatology and other professional medical organizations recommend that all individuals get a professional skin exam at least once a year.
Dr. Mamelak and his colleague, Dr. Miriam Hanson offer skin cancer screenings to all their patients at Sanova Dermatology. “While most of these cancers are highly preventable, particularly with proper protection to UV exposure, they are also highly treatable and curable, especially if caught early,” explains Dr. Hanson.
But what happens once you have already had Skin Cancer? “These risks are not restricted to cancer naive patients.” Dr. Mamelak explains if you have previously been diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma (the so called non-melanoma skin cancers), you are at higher risk of developing future skin cancers, including melanoma.
“One study demonstrated that if a patient had a non-melanoma skin cancer, their risk of developing a second non-melanoma skin cancer increased 10 fold.” A personal history of melanoma also increases the risk of getting a non-melanoma skin cancer by 3 times. Somewhat more worrisome, melanoma patients also become 9 times more likely to develop another malignant melanoma cancer.
“We create a special bond with our skin cancer patients at our clinic,” Dr. Mamelak states.”We continue to screen our patients long after their cancer has been treated, and really focus on preventative strategies. We do our best to address precancerous lesions and stop new tumors from arising.”
At Sanova Dermatology, we understand how stressful cancer screening and treatment can be. We strive to make the process as easy and comfortable for our patients as possible. Regardless of the risk factors, our supportive and caring staff help ensure our patients get their regular skin checks and educate patients on the best protective and preventative strategies.