Should I Be Screened for Skin Cancer?
Should I be screened for skin cancer?
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force doesn't currently recommend screening the general public for skin cancer. However, many experts recommend regular screening for skin cancer for those at "high risk," which usually includes the following people:
- Those with a personal history of previous skin cancer
- Those with a strong family history of melanoma or multiple atypical moles
- Those with light complexions and a history of blistering sunburns and/or freckling
The National Cancer Institute has a handy online calculator of melanoma risk, which can help doctors better estimate a person's risk of this particularly dangerous type of skin cancer.
Screening usually involves a thorough skin check every one to two years; more frequent checks may be recommended for those who've already had previous skin cancers removed. Skin cancer screenings are best done by dermatologists or other clinicians with experience in recognizing abnormal spots on the skin.
Although many experts believe that skin cancer screening is beneficial, so far it has not been proven to save lives.