TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Many people put off yearly screenings during the pandemic, but it’s time to get your health back on track. One of the screenings that is particularly important for Floridians is skin cancer checks.
“I’m looking to examine them head to toe, including the hair, the eyes, the toes,” said Dr. Panos Vasiloudes, the Chief Medical Officer at Academic Alliance in Dermatology.
Dr. Vasiloudes explains that if melanoma is found early enough, it is 100% curable. Florida has the second highest rate of new melanoma cases each year.
The dermatologist said he saw a dramatic drop in skin cancer treatments over the last 18 months, so he is glad to see people making appointments again.
“It’s the least invasive procedure to make an impact in life. You don’t need endoscopy. You don’t need MRI. You don’t need an ultrasound. All you need is a careful, diligent, experienced eye,” Dr. Vasiloudes explained.
Trained professionals will look for specific signs of melanoma in moles. If they find something, the doctor will take a small sliver to biopsy and determine if it’s cancer. These screenings are often done yearly, but Dr. Vasiloudes wants to see some people more often.
“High risk patients who already had melanoma or have a family history, first or second degree, I will see them every three or four months,” he said.
Patients should do self exams on a regular basis, looking at your scalp and even between your toes. If you notice anything that’s discolored, or a mole that changes, make an appointment with a dermatologist.
Dr. Vasiloudes reminds everyone to wear sunscreen and avoid direct sun rays when possible. He explains that people with light skin and light eyes are more predisposed to sun damage.
It’s important to know your family history of melanoma because if you have a close relative who has had it, you’re more at risk too.