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Ask A Dermatologist

Early Detection of Skin Cancer

Cancer - The Deadliest Disease of the 21st Century

Cancer has turned out to be the deadliest disease of the 21st Century with its menacing types striking fear into the hearts of people all around the world. Even though research has ensured breakthroughs in the field of medicinal science to the extent that cancer is not untreatable anymore, people often think about their grave when they get a diagnosis of cancer. This is because cancer has been responsible for so many deaths that anyone who even finds himself/herself at risk of cancer lives his/her life in great fear. 

There are a lot of types of cancers with each having its own deadly track-record. Whether it is lung cancer or pancreatic cancer, breast cancer or testicular cancer, skin cancer or liver cancer, each type of cancer and their sub-types take so many lives every year. Nobody is really safe from cancer as even after taking a great deal of precautions in your everyday life, your chances of avoiding a cancer type would be only minimally different from any other person.

Since the scope of this post is limited to skin cancer, skin cancer would be discussed in detail here. 

Skin Cancer - What Makes it so Deadly?

One of the primary reasons why cancers like skin cancer don’t get diagnosed early enough is that people don’t listen to their body when it gives indications about the presence of cancerous cells. It’s difficult for people to realize that they might be at a risk of cancer too as there are so many cancer types that knowing about all of them and then keeping their early symptoms in mind at all times is a truly impossible task. Anyone with a normal brain and anyone who wants to lead a simple life that isn’t shadowed by thoughts of cancer at every step can’t do it at least. 

The thing with skin cancer and the reason why it has maintained its deadly track record is that skin cancers don’t get diagnosed early enough. Therapies and treatments are now present which can totally eliminate cancerous cells from the body and return you to living a healthy life after getting diagnosed with cancer. So, in truth skin cancer is highly treatable when detected early. The only problem is that most of these treatments are only effective when the cancer is in its development stages or is restricted to one part of the body. When the skin cancer becomes aggressive, the treatments lose their effectiveness. It’s obvious why this happens too. Fighting cancerous cells and eliminating them when they are limited to one part of the body is easy as the cancer cells are in a limited number at such a stage. However, once the cancer spreads and cancerous cells multiply themselves in every part of the body, locating them and then eliminating them completely so that they can’t re-grow becomes extremely difficult. 

So, what can you do to ensure that if God forbid cancer develops in your body, you go to the doctor early enough that the cancer can be totally eliminated? 

Self-Monitoring Holds the Key

As far as skin cancer is concerned, if you want to make sure that you are never really at risk of finding out that you have been diagnosed with skin cancer at a very late stage, you should keep monitoring your body every day. The body always gives indications that point at cancer and if you would monitor these indications, you would be able to go to the doctor early enough. 

However, you might be wondering as to how you would be able to monitor your body for so many types of cancers with each cancer having its own symptoms? Well, as far as skin cancer goes, there are a few risk factors that make a few more vulnerable than the others. If you find yourself relating to any of these factors then monitoring yourself is important as prevention starts with self-monitoring. These factors are:


A history of cancer in your family

The number of moles on your body

  If your close relatives have been diagnosed with cancer either at an early stage or at an aggressive stage then you might be at risk of cancer too. It’s important that you only look at the medical history of your close relatives. It’s not important which type of cancer they suffered from though. The thing that matters is that if you have a family history of cancer, self screening is a must!. If the numbers of moles are lesser on your body then there is a higher risk of development of aggressive melanoma. Since Melanoma is considered treatable if caught early, if you want to ensure that you don’t end up with a late-stage melanoma, you should learn about the ABCDE of monitoring skin cancer.   

In any case, if you feel that there is even a small doubt in your mind about your body’s health and if you find even the smallest indication of a problem that might lead to the discovery of cancer, you should get it checked. To keep yourself safe at all times, you should check with a dermatologist for regular skin exams

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