Get screened

Most people tend to think they don’t need to get their skin checked if they have no skin cancer history in their family. That is really not true, and the recommendation is to get screened once a year, even if you have no skin cancer history in your family.

If you do have skin cancer history in your family, then you should get checked twice a year.

Melanoma is the most dangerous skin cancer but is very well and easily treated when detected at an early stage. In most cases, the process of progression that brings melanoma to an advanced and difficult to treat stage can take years. Screening allows patients to detect melanoma at an early stage.

Dr Giuseppe Spadola

MD, PhD – Oncological and surgical dermatology

“ Skin cancer screening is a very simple, easy, non-invasive, fast procedure. A first level consultation can take only a few minutes. It is important to collect and explain individual risk factors (fair skin, personal or familial history ok melanoma…), then a complete skin examination with a dermoscope. All people after 15 years should undergo a first consultation. ”

Not sure yet of the necessity to get your skin checked?

 Here are some facts:

  • In 2018, 287,723 cases of melanoma skin cancer and 1,042,056 of non-melanoma skin cancer were diagnosed globally
  • 60,712 people died of melanoma skin cancer globally in 2018, and 65,155 of non-melanoma skin cancer
  • Incidence rates of melanoma skin cancer rose by 44% between 2008 and 2018 with deaths increasing by 32%
  • A 10 % decrease in ozone levels will result in an additional 300,000 non-melanoma and 4,500 melanoma skin cancer cases
  • In the US, the estimated five-year survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early is about 99 percent (7% higher than patients who have a late detection of melanoma)
  • With an average MIR (Mortality to incidence ratio) of 21%, melanoma skin cancer remains one of the most treatable cancers compared to others, such as lung cancer, which has an 84% MIR

Your GP or your dermatologist can do a skin check

Normally, your GP can also do a skin check, or direct you to a dermatologist who can. If you are not sure where to start, you can ask your GP, or directly look for a dermatologist in your area. Depending on where you live and the social security system you belong to, you may be charged for this screening.

Spread the word and the sunscreen

Many people are not aware they need to get a skin check, just like they don’t see how a sunburn or sunbeds put them at risk. By spreading the word (and the sunscreen), you may also help your loved ones get checked in time. Although it is not your responsibility to do so, you are the best communication campaign and health advocate for the people who are the closest to you.