The majority of skin cancers are removed in the physician's office and fortunately are cured.
However, skin cancers do have a habit of recurring. If a skin cancer is going to recur, they always occur within the first 3 years.
Any patient who has been diagnosed and treated for a skin cancer must follow up with a dermatologist
For those who have had a diagnosis of a melanoma, a follow up every few months is highly recommended. Besides the skin, the nodes in the axilla and groin must be carefully assessed for the first few months. If all is clear, annual exams are recommended.
One can greatly diminish the risk of skin cancer by:
Sun: Avoiding sun is the key to prevention of skin cancer. Sun is the highest risk for skin cancers.
Sun screens. For those who love the sun, the use of sun screens with an SPF of >20 is recommended. Today, sunscreens are available which can block both UV A and UV B rays. Buy sunscreens which contain both inorganic and organic compounds. These newer sunscreen are effective at blocking almost 95% of UV rays from the sun.
Clothing: For those who are constantly exposed to sun, wear protective clothing and a hat. Specialized fabrics are now available which can reflect back the UV rays
Tanning booths: Tanning booths are a major risk factor for exposure to UV rays and should be avoided.
Self exam: In today's modern era of medicine, the patient also has to play a major role as a health care amateur. Examine your skin and know your body. If there are any changes in the skin which are new or puzzling, consult with your dermatologist.