Skin Cancer Screening

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States; in fact, 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. People of all colors and races can get skin cancer. There are many different types of skin cancer, including actinic keratoses (AK), basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and melanoma. BCC and SCC are the most common forms of skin cancer, but melanoma is the most deadly. 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. Regular self-skin exams and a yearly examination by a dermatologist help people find early skin cancers.

To diagnose skin cancer, your doctor may:

Examine your skin. Your doctor may look at your skin to determine whether your skin changes are likely to be skin cancer. Further testing may be needed to confirm that diagnosis.

Remove a sample of suspicious skin for testing (skin biopsy). Your doctor may remove the suspicious-looking skin for lab testing. A biopsy can determine whether you have skin cancer and, if so, what type of skin cancer you have.

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