I like most of my colleagues believe in the critical importance of regular skin cancer screening examinations for the early detection and the cure of skin cancer. Last Tuesday in the NY Times there was an article written about this subject, Jane Brody in her regular Tuesday health column, wrote an article titled “Updating the Rules for Skin Cancer Checks”. In this article she accurately reported on an article published in a very well know medical journal, the article stated that skin cancer screening examinations by primary care physicians were not effective at the early detection of skin cancer. Primary care physicians are your gynecologist, general practitioners, internist, and family practitioners. The reason that I am talking about this today is because I want to make sure that anybody that read that article was not confused and thought that they were stating that skin cancer screenings by dermatologists were not effective, they are. As a matter of fact every May the American Academy of Dermatology sponsors a skin cancer screening program, free skin cancer screening across the United States, and every year for the past ten to fifteen years, two to three hundred undetected skin cancers were discovered and treated early and materially changed those patients life’s.
The article that Jane Brody quotes also says that self examination by patients in not helpful at the early detection of skin cancer, I vehemently disagree. I have been doing skin cancer screening exams for almost thirty years and regularly my patients bring to my attention abnormal or irregular pre-cancers and important skin cancers.
The bottom line is your best chance for the early detection and cure of skin cancers is to have a regular skin cancer screening examination by your dermatologist.