Early Detection and Screening
Skin Cancer Dermatology
One in every five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer at some point in their lives. That’s why it’s vital to have your skin checked regularly by a highly qualified dermatologist. As a board-certified dermatologist and dermapathologist, Dr. Kodama can identify problem areas on your skin early on, and the earlier skin cancer is identified, the easier it is to treat.
Types of Skin Cancer
Skin cancers are the most common cancers in the United States. Between 40 and 50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will develop either Basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma at least once in their lifetimes. Treatment is conducted on an outpatient basis and may include the removal of the skin lesion, radiation therapy using X-ray beams, photodynamic therapy or even topical medications.
One in 50 Americans will develop melanoma. Melanoma is a much more aggressive type of skin cancer that requires immediate medical attention to prevent spread to other areas of the body. Treatment can include surgical excision and Mohs Micrographic surgery, both of which can be conducted in an outpatient setting.
What to Expect During a Skin Cancer Screening
Dr. Kodama will conduct a full body skin examination during your first office visit. This includes:
- Dermatoscopy or the examination of skin lesions with an instruments called a dermascope,
- Photographic monitoring of suspect areas,
- Education about the importance of UV protection,
- Education about precancerous skin conditions like actinic keratosis and dysplastic nevus.
Dr. Kodama’s Unique Qualifications
Dr. Kodama is uniquely qualified to identify and treat conditions of the skin thanks to her extensive background in clinical research and direct patient care. For 10 years, Dr. Kodama focused on studying skin cancer in a laboratory setting. She authored several textbooks and published scientific research studies that focused on the identification and treatment of skin cancer.
To help patients directly, Dr. Kodama returned to practicing dermatology in a medical office setting. As a dermatologist, she can not only help patients identify and treat skin cancer, but educate patients about prevention measures.
Skin Cancer Prevention
Skin cancer can be prevented, largely by limiting your exposure to the sun. To prevent skin cancer, you should:
- Seek shade when the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
- Cover your skin when working or playing outside. Wear a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses, if possible.
- Always apply sunscreen to exposed skin. Use a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.
- Refrain from using tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from tanning beds causes skin cancer. Consider a self-tanning spray or lotion instead.
Are You At Risk?
While anyone can develop skin cancer, some people are more at risk than others. You are at increased risk if you:
- Only sunburn, but don’t tan, after sun exposure,
- Have a personal history of skin cancer,
- Have a family history of skin cancer,
- Have not worn sun screen for years,
- Work outside frequently,
- Experienced severe sunburn(s) during childhood,
- Used tanning beds,
- Are of Celtic ancestry,
- Have been exposed to radiation,
- Take immunosuppressant medication,
- Have had an organ transplant, or
- Have more than 50 moles.
Even if you have one or more of these risk factors, you won’t necessarily develop skin cancer. However, it is important to receive regular checkups from a dermatologist to ensure you stay as healthy as possible.