If you have been diagnosed with skin cancer, you’re familiar with the range of emotions that one is likely to feel during the course of their treatment: the surprise surrounding the diagnosis, the relief following successful removal, and the post-operative uncertainty of whether or not you will be diagnosed with skin cancer in the future.
According to an article published on Skincancer.org, a 2015 study by JAMA Dermatology revealed that nearly 60% of patients who have been previously diagnosed with skin cancer will experience a second case within a 10-year period.
This blog covers some of the reasons behind the likelihood of recurring skin cancer cases and why, even with this probability, patients can be comforted by the high success rate of early detection and skin cancer treatment at Vanguard Skin Specialists.
Common Causes of Multiple Skin Cancer Diagnoses
There are some obvious factors to take into account when considering why some of us have higher chances of developing skin cancer. Those of us with fair skin, who have had multiple sunburns—especially at an early age—are, unfortunately, prime candidates for developing one or more forms of skin cancer in our lifetime. Lack of sunscreen use (which is much higher with men) and preferences towards summer tanning introduce harmful UV light that causes damage to our DNA at a cellular level. This damage causes mutations deep within our skin that eventually manifest as skin cancer lesions.
There are also several underlying factors that lead to skin cancer diagnoses that are much more difficult to quantify, such as compromised immune systems and family genetics. Regardless of the risk factors, there are a few key steps we can all take to reduce our chances of skin cancer, including daily broad-spectrum sunscreen application and routine skin cancer screenings, which dramatically increase the odds of early detection.
But what if, despite taking all the necessary steps, you find yourself with a second skin cancer diagnosis?
The Vanguard Dermatologists’ Approach to Skin Cancer Treatment
Through our constant dedication to providing the best possible outcomes for our patients, the team at Vanguard Skin Specialists focuses on early detection and early cure. Our dermatologists educate patients on skin cancer prevention. We also offer Mohs Micrographic Surgery and same-day plastic surgery reconstruction, so that patients can have the highest cure rate with the best cosmetic result.
In previous blogs, we have highlighted many of these steps, which you can read in What Happens After Your Skin Biopsy, Mohs Micrographic Surgery: A 99% Cure Rate for Most Skin Cancers, and Topical Chemotherapy for Skin Cancer: What is it and When is it the Right Treatment Option?
Vanguard recommends that full-body skin cancer screenings be scheduled yearly, regardless of medical history. For patients who have already been diagnosed with skin cancer, this timeline gets shorter and shorter. Famously, actor Hugh Jackman—who has been diagnosed and treated for skin cancer 6 times—posted a video to his fans stressing the importance of skin cancer screenings and sunscreen. His story helps illustrate not only the seriousness of recurring skin cancer cases but also the efficacy of available treatment options.
Schedule Your Skin Cancer Screening Today with a Dermatologist
If you’ve recently noticed a troublesome looking mole, have gone more than a year without a screening, or would just like some peace of mind, contact Vanguard today and schedule your full-body skin exam with one of our trusted dermatologists or dermatology advanced practitioners in Castle Rock, Canon City, Colorado Springs, La Junta, Parker, Pueblo or Woodland Park.