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Skin Cancer Screening

Skin cancer screening tests look for skin cancer before any symptoms are present. Specific tests include a skin exam and a biopsy. There are risks associated with certain tests, which your doctor will explain to you. It is important to remember that your doctor does not necessarily think you have cancer if he or she suggests one of these skin cancer screening tests.

Skin Cancer Screening: An Overview

Skin cancer screening entails looking for skin cancer before a person has any symptoms. When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat. By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have begun to spread.
 
It is important to remember that your doctor does not necessarily think that you have cancer if he or she suggests a skin cancer screening test. Screening tests are given when people do not have skin cancer symptoms.
 
If a skin cancer screening test result is abnormal, you may need to have more tests done to find out if you have cancer. These are called diagnostic tests.
 
Specific skin cancer screening tests include:
 
 
Skin Cancer Screening Through a Skin Exam
Skin examinations are commonly used to screen for melanoma. Regular examination of the skin by both you and your doctor increases the chance of finding skin cancer early. Most melanomas that appear in the skin can be seen by the naked eye. In most cases, there is a long period of time when the tumor grows beneath the top layer of skin but does not grow into the deeper skin layers. This period of slow growth allows time for skin cancer to be found early. Skin cancer may be cured if the tumor is found before it spreads deeper.
 
Monthly self-examination of the skin may help find changes that should be reported to a doctor. Regular skin checks by a doctor are even more important for people who have already had skin cancer.
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