Although there is not enough evidence showing full body skin check lowers the death rate of skin cancer but there is no doubt that the earlier you find a skin cancer, the easier is to treat it successfully. Both skin self-examinations and full skin exams performed by a dermatologist are useful in early detection and treatment of skin cancers, including melanoma, which is the most deadly. An experienced dermatologist has special training and knowledge for the diagnosis and management of all types of skin cancers. People of all colors and races can get skin cancer. The most common form is Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) which rarely spreads and unlikely to be fatal. The second most common skin cancer is Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) with high possibility of distant spreading (metastasis). Melanoma is less common but much more likely to lead to death because of spread throughout the body.
With early detection and proper treatment, the cure rate for BCC and SCC is about 95 percent. When melanoma is detected before it spreads, it also has a high cure rate.
Skin is the largest organ of the human body and also a critical and integral component of the body’s defence system. Any impairment of the skin’s normal function can lead to significant morbidity and mortality. In addition, the skin can serve as a window for the evaluation of internal health and disease. For an experienced dermatologist, evaluation of skin lesions may lead to diagnosis of serious internal diseases that might be unrecognized otherwise.
History taking and physical examination are adequate for diagnosing many skin lesions, but some require biopsy or other diagnostic testing.Some examples of the diagnostic tests other than biopsy are: scraping, patch testing and dermoscopy,but visual inspection by a dermatologist is the central and most important diagnostic tool because many skin disorders have a characteristic appearance or morphology.
Skin lesions can vary from small discolorations to lumps and ulcers, etc.
Many times a biopsy is required to confirm the final diagnosis of the skin condition.A shave biopsy is done by removing a piece of top part of skin to be tested in the lab.
When a deeper biopsy is required a punch biopsy may be done to provide a deeper sample of skin and the tissue from under the skin.
There are times that an incisional or excisional biopsy is requested by your doctor for a more thorough examination of the skin lesion. This will provide the best help for lab diagnosis and normally will required a suture closure of the biopsy site as well.
Melanoma is the most serious cancer of the skin. Possible signs of melanoma include, but not limited to, a change in the appearance of a mole or pigmented area.
A doctor should be consulted if any of the following problems occur:
A mole that:
Any Change in pigmented (colored) skin.
Satellite moles (new moles that grow near an existing mole).
Some refer to “ABCD” rule of melanoma:
Unfortunately, some melanomas do not fit the descriptions above, and it may be hard to tell if the mole is normal or not, so you should show your doctor anything that you are unsure of.