Many people, especially those who have fair coloring or have had extensive sun exposure, should periodically check their entire body for suggestive moles and lesions.
Have your primary health-care provider or a skin specialist (dermatologist) check any moles or spots that concern you.
See your health-care provider to check your skin if you notice any changes in the size, shape, color, or texture of pigmented areas (such as darker areas of skin or moles).
If you have skin cancer , your skin specialist (dermatologist) or cancer specialist (oncologist) will talk to you about symptoms of metastatic disease that might require care in a hospital.
Home treatment is not appropriate for skin cancer. These conditions require the care of a dermatologist or specialist in skin cancers.
Be active in preventing and detecting skin cancer on yourself and others. Perform regular self-examinations of your skin and note any changes. Avoid unnecessary exposure to direct
sunlight. Wear sunscreen daily.
Most skin cancer is cured surgically in the dermatologist's office. Of skin cancers that do recur, most do so within three years. Therefore, follow up with your dermatologist (skin specialist) as recommended. Make an appointment immediately if you suspect a problem.
If you have advanced malignant melanoma, your oncologist may want to see you every few months. These visits may include total body skin examinations, regional lymph node checks, and periodic chest x-rays. Over time, the intervals between follow-up appointments will increase. Eventually these checks may be done only once a year.
You can reduce your risk of getting skin cancer.
Monthly self-examination improves your chances of finding a skin cancer early, when it has done a minimum of damage to your skin and can be treated easily. Regular self-exam helps you recognize any new or changing features.
Check all areas of your body, including "hard-to-reach" areas. Ask a loved one to help you if there are areas you can't see.
Although the number of skin cancers in the United States continues to rise, more and more skin cancers are being caught earlier, when they are easier to treat. Thus, illness and death rates have decreased.
When treated properly, the cure rate for both basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) approaches 95%. The remaining cancers recur at some point after treatment.
In most cases, the outcome of malignant melanoma depends on the thickness of the tumor at the time of treatment.