We understand that you have a busy schedule and may not always prioritize a visit to the doctor’s office. However, staying up to date with your yearly physicals, eye exams, and dental check-ups are crucial for preventive care and keeping your body healthy and strong. Your annual skin exam is no exception. Skin cancer screenings and annual skin exams are just as vital as any other routine health visit. Unfortunately, many people tend to skip them.
As dermatology experts, our team at Hollywood Dermatology in South Florida wants you to stay informed and proactive in protecting your skin’s health. Led by Dr. Eduardo Weiss, an expert dermatologist in Hollywood with over 30 years of experience, we strive to help our community understand the importance of annual skin exams and skin cancer screenings as part of your yearly healthcare routine.
Here are the top 5 reasons why you should not skip your annual skin exam:
Early Skin Cancer Detection Increases Survival Rates
Skin cancer is a prevalent health concern in South Florida, where the sun’s rays are strong year-round. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. With Florida ranked number 4 in the country for new skin cancer diagnoses, it’s critical to get regular skin cancer screenings.
The most common types of skin cancer, Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma, have a 99.9 percent 5-year survival rate when detected early and treated before it can spread to nearby lymph nodes. However, survival rates decrease as cancer is allowed to spread, dropping to just 30 percent once it begins affecting further areas of the lymphatic system and other organs.
Your Skin Directly Impacts Your Overall Health
Most people know your skin is your body’s first line of defense against injury, infection, and illness. With an annual skin exam, your dermatology provider may be able to spot subtle changes in the skin that can be an early sign of other underlying health conditions.
Chronic health conditions like Lupus, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and even diabetes can manifest in the skin before there are other signs of a problem. As skin health experts, seeing your dermatologist for an annual skin exam could help identify these early symptoms to help get you the care you need.
Aging Skin Becomes More Sensitive to Environmental Damage
As you age, your skin becomes more sensitive to environmental damage, such as UV rays. This may not only speed up the skin’s visible aging process but also leave older patients more susceptible to skin cancer. Current research shows that skin cancer incidents are increasing among older adults, particularly those over the age of 80. Those with a prior history of skin cancer are eight times more likely to develop it again later in life. They may require more frequent follow-ups to monitor for recurrence and ensure any new cancer is treated promptly and effectively.
Believing Skin Health Myths Can Leave You Vulnerable
Ignoring skin health can be dangerous, especially for younger people and people of color. Prevailing myths around melanin’s ability to prevent skin cancer, or skin cancer being an ‘old people problem,’ can have dangerous consequences. Skin cancer may manifest differently in people with deeper skin tones. This often leads to later diagnosis and more challenges in skin cancer treatment. In South Florida, 21 percent of melanoma cases in African American patients are diagnosed when the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes, while 16 percent are diagnosed when the cancer has spread to distant lymph nodes and other organs.
Younger patients may also face treatment challenges caused by ignoring early signs and symptoms as ‘no big deal.’ While skin cancer is more common among older populations, certain habits like using indoor tanning beds or not using sunscreen can increase your risks.
Peace of Mind
Preventive care provides you and your family peace of mind regarding your health and well-being. An annual skin exam typically only takes a few minutes and goes a long way to ensure you know your skin health status and have a treatment plan in place should your dermatology specialist detect anything concerning. This is particularly important for families with a history of skin cancer or other skin conditions requiring specialty care.
At Hollywood Dermatology, we pride ourselves on our patient-focused approach to medicine. As part of your healthcare team, we focus on you and your specific concerns, developing a personalized care regimen to give you relief, comfort, and peace of mind. Even if you aren’t currently experiencing any specific symptoms, we encourage you to schedule your annual skin exam today to help safeguard your health and future.