There’s a good reason why Florida is called, “The Sunshine State,” as our year-round weather features abundant sun and warm temperatures. All of this time out of doors, however, also leaves us more vulnerable to skin cancer, which we can stay one step ahead of through skin cancer screening.
As Florida-based dermatologists, Drs. Matthew Zarraga and Khongruk Wongkittiroch are keenly aware of the impact that the sun can have on your skin, which is why we offer this type of critical screening.
Here's a look at some of the many reasons why an annual skin cancer screening should play an important role in your routine healthcare.
Skin cancer by the numbers
The first thing to understand about skin cancer is that it’s the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States — affecting one in five people during their lifetimes. In fact, 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer each day in the US.
There are three main types of skin cancer:
- Basal cell skin cancer
- Squamous cell skin cancer
About 5.4 million people are diagnosed with either basal or squamous cell cancer, and the lion’s share of these diagnoses — 80% — are basal cell skin carcinomas.
Melanoma is the more potentially dangerous of all skin cancers and only accounts for 1% of all skin cancer diagnoses.
What these numbers tell us is that, no matter where you live, skin cancer is prevalent. When you live in Florida, however, your risks increase considerably.
The sun and skin cancer
The primary culprit behind most skin cancers is exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Now, consider the fact that Florida averages 237 days of sunshine, compared to the national average of 205, and you can see why our risks are heightened.
Not only do we have more days of sun, our temperatures are warmer, which encourages us to hang out outdoors more days of the year than people in many other states.
Your skin is large
Your skin is your body’s largest organ and covers, on average, 22 square feet. While you can do your part to check for changes in your skin, it would be difficult for you to monitor this large area as well as we can during your skin check.
Our team knows where to look and what to look out for, and we can easily recognize — and remove and test — worrisome areas on your skin.
More than screening
As we pointed out, not only can we screen your skin for the possible signs of cancer, we can take swift action to remove the dangerous cells before they have a chance to spread. Depending upon the extent of what we find, we can use simple removal techniques or more advanced techniques like Mohs surgery, which has a 99% success rate in eradicating skin cancer.
An ideal screening schedule
The bottom line is that, since we live in Florida, we recommend annual skin cancer screenings that monitor changes in your skin from one year to the next. While any time of year is good, fall is even better since we’re coming out of summer with its high sun and longer days. To get started, contact our office in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to schedule your skin cancer screening.