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Skin Cancer Screening

//Skin Cancer Screening

Being out in the sun is important for both our physical and mental health, but because of the sun’s harmful UV rays, it can also negatively affect your skin health, especially if you’re going out without sunscreen or protective clothing. Continual sun exposure can severely damage the skin and increase the risk of skin cancer.

Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the US, but it’s one of the most easily treatable. But it’s critical to detect it early. That’s where a skin cancer screening comes in. With this quick visual examination, Dr. Krant can check your skin and treat any issues before they become more serious.


What is a Skin Cancer Screening?

A skin cancer screening is exactly what it sounds like. Dr. Krant will check your skin for any abnormal moles, spots, or bumps that show signs of skin cancer. A mole or spot may be abnormal if it:

  • Is an unusual color
    Is an irregular shape
    Doesn’t have a defined border
    Has grown in size in an unusual way
    Is evolving in shape, size, and color
    Is painful or newly itchy
    Is bleeding or oozing

If anything looks abnormal, Dr. Krant may take a sample (biopsy) to test for possible cancerous cells, or may take note of the spot to reexamine it at a defined future visit.


Types of Skin Cancer

There are three types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC): forms in the basal layer of the epidermis, the bottom layer of the outermost section of skin cells. It is the most common type of skin cancer and the least dangerous, but it is real cancer. BCC often looks like a translucent-colored growth, bump, or patch of skin but can also appear pink, brown, or blueish gray.

Squamous cell carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC): the second most common type of skin cancer, highly related to sun damage, and can show up as a firm red bump or scaly patch. Morte dangerous if found in the head and neck region.

Malignant Melanoma

Malignant Melanoma (MM): least common but most serious. It can spread quickly and can be life-threatening if not detected and treated early. Treatment may require chemotherapy or immunotherapy in addition to surgery.


What Can I Expect in a Skin Cancer Screening?

For your skin cancer screening, Dr. Krant will give you a gown to wear to ensure you’re comfortable while she checks your skin (including your scalp and the bottoms of your feet), looking for possible signs of skin cancer. The screening is relatively quick and simple, but it’s important in order to detect skin cancer early.


Am I A Good Candidate for a Skin Cancer Screening?

If you haven’t had a skin cancer screening lately or have noticed a mole or spot that’s new or changed in shape, color, or size, you are a perfect candidate for a screening. There really is no one who is not a good candidate for a skin cancer screening.

Frequently Asked Questions about Skin Cancer

At what age does skin cancer typically occur?

Skin cancer appearance generally increases with age because some types of skin cancer, specifically basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), are more directly linked to a history of sun exposure and sunburns. Melanoma (or malignant melanoma- MM) tends to be about 50% based on family history and genetics, and 50% based on sunburn history. That said, there are real skin cancers that rarely occur in small children, so any unusual mole or growth on a child should be checked by a board-certified dermatologist just to be sure.

Can a dermatologist tell if you have skin cancer?

A board-certified dermatologist is specially trained to be an expert in the health of skin, hair, and nails. Dermatology is the only field of medicine with this specialty. Dermatologists are the doctors who diagnose skin cancer as part of their training and specialization. In many cases, a dermatologist can tell just by looking if a growth is skin cancer. They can also often tell just by looking if a growth is *not* skin cancer. In some in between cases, the dermatologist may recommend a small painless test called a skin biopsy to have the tissue checked under the microscope in a lab. In other cases, a dermatologist may recommend watching the spot for changes and rechecking it at a future visit in a few days, weeks, or months. In these cases it is important to keep the follow up appointment. Additionally, in some cases the growth may appear at first benign to the dermatologist, but if you know it is new, unusual, or bothersome in a unique way, it may be worth asking for the biopsy anyway. On rare occasion, growths that appear benign at first can turn out to need more treatment.

Can a dry patch of skin be cancer?

Skin cancer can sometimes look like a dry patch of skin that does not respond to normal moisturizing and does not go away after an extended period of time. If you are concerned about a patch like this, its best to see a board-certified dermatologist to check it to be sure. They can often tell just by looking, but may sometimes need to perform a painless, thin shave biopsy to double check.

Can a skin cancer look like a pimple?

Skin cancer can sometimes look like a pimple that does not heal by 2-3 months like an acne pimple would, and might sometimes bleed more easily or seem to heal and recur over many months. If you are concerned about a bump like this, its best to see a board-certified dermatologist to check it to be sure. They can often tell just by looking, but may sometimes need to perform a painless, thin shave biopsy to double check.

Can laser remove skin cancer?

Lasers and laser treatments are under investigation for being able to safely remove skin cancer, but the risk that some cancer cells remain under the surface is still there. Without checking the skin cells themselves under a microscope to be sure, there is a risk that skin cancer may recur underneath the surface. In certain cases where someone is not a good candidate for surgery, this may be an option to consider, but the gold standard for skin cancer treatment is still surgical removal with margins being checked under the microscope.

Can skin cancer go away by itself?

Skin cancers may appear to heal and recur over time at first, but generally skin cancer is not a condition that fully heals itself, once visible to the naked eye.

Can skin cancer kill you?

Unfortunately, skin cancer can be very serious in some cases and can kill you. There are three main types of skin cancer: melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma. Each type of skin cancer develops when a different type of healthy skin cell turns bad. Melanoma is the cancer that develops when melanocytes, the cells that create skin pigment, turn bad. Malignant melanoma (MM) is the most deadly of the three types of skin cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is derived from squamous cells turning bad. SCC is the second most deadly type of skin cancer, and is most deadly when found in the head and neck area. Basal cell carcinoma, (BCC) is the most common and least deadly form of skin cancer. BCC forms from the basal cell layer of the skin, the base layer at the bottom.

Can skin cancer show up suddenly?

Skin cancer can sometimes show up shortly after a sunburn, but most often takes some time to develop to grow enough to be visible to the naked eye.

Can you have skin cancer for years and not know?

Yes. You can definitely have skin cancer for years and not know. This is why dermatologists recommend a yearly complete skin check by a board-certified dermatologist, the doctors most trained to recognize when a spot is skin cancer. Dermatologists also check areas that dont usually get seen, including your scalp,. between your toes, and other areas hard for you to see yourself.

Can you spread skin cancer by picking it?

Skin cancer is not contagious or infectious, so it does not spread on the surface of the skin if you scratch or pick it, but it could theoretically be possible to spread cancer cells into your bloodstream if you pick too much at a skin cancer.

Does skin cancer show up in blood work?

In most cases, the three main types of skin cancer do not show up in blood work or a blood test. This is why it is important to see a board-certified dermatologist to examine your skin regularly.

Does sunscreen stop skin cancer?

Sunscreen reduces the incidence (development) of skin cancer, but does not stop skin cancer from forming entirely. Staying in the sun too long


Schedule A Consultation

Ensure your skin is as healthy as possible with a skin cancer screening at Art of Dermatology at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York. Dr. Krant will check your skin and, if necessary, provide treatment options to ensure your skin is in optimal health. Take the first step and schedule a consultation today! Call our NYC office at 212 488 5599 or fill out our online contact form.