May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. The weather is getting warmer, making us want to spend more time outside in the sun. It is important for us to be aware of the consequences if we spend too much time in the sun. Skin Cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S. Over the past decade, more people have been afflicted by skin cancer than all other cancers combined. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more than 3.5 million skin cancers in over 2 million people are diagnosed annually. Good news: It can be cured when found and treated early. If not treated, the patient’s skin cancer can result in disfigurement, or even worse, death.

Spring time means skin protectionA skin biopsy is the most common diagnostic method for skin cancer. Using this method, the doctor takes a sample of  the suspicious looking skin and studies it under a microscope.

Diagnostic Imaging, such as X-Rays, MRIs, CT Scans, and PET scans, might also used during diagnosis to look for a possible spread of of the cancer to the lymph nodes, or for the development of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.

Diagnostic Imaging is used mostly for patients who are not in the early stage of the disease. X-rays are used to help determine whether the melanoma has spread to the lungs. CT Scans are used to show the detail in internal organs to see if any lymph nodes have enlarged or if any organs have unusual spots. An MRI scan can be useful to determine if the cancer cells have spread to internal organs and bones. PET scans are useful for patients with advanced stages of melanoma. PET scans are used to analyze how well the organs and tissues are functioning, which determines the stage of melanoma and whether there are recurring tumors.

How do we prevent skin cancer? Simple:

  •          Avoid direct exposure to sunlight
  •          Use sunscreen
  •          Avoid sources of UV light
  •          Cover up with clothing if exposed to sunlight
  •          Do not burn
  •          Seek shade

Here at DiagnosticWorks, we help the un-insured, under-insured, and folks who are determined to manage how their health dollars are spent. DiagnosticWorks provides patients access to diagnostic medical services they need at rates they can afford. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Early detection saves lives.

To find out more about our network of radiology and diagnostic centers, and for more information on how we can assist you and your loved ones find affordable diagnostic healthcare, go to www.DiagnosticWorks.com. For additional statistics and information on Skin Cancer, please visit the Skin Cancer Foundation at http://www.skincancer.org/.

Since it is now Skin Cancer Awareness Month, spread the word and make a difference! Stay safe.