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Skin Exams by Doctors Are Best

By August 20, 2009

One of the main reasons for the wonderfully high cure rate of skin cancer is the ability to detect it in its early stages. Unfortunately, research shows that less than 10% of us have had a skin exam in the previous 12 months. Thatís an abysmally low number, considering that finding a cancerous lesion early just may save your life.

Experts typically advise that you check your own skin at least several times a year -- more if you have multiple risk factors. However, a new paper published in the August issue of the Archives of Dermatology demonstrates that a visit to the dermatologist is more effective than doing it yourself. The study showed that the doctors detected more melanoma lesions, especially the early-stage thin ones, than the patients.

Based on this study, you might think that -- like car repair and house painting -- some things are best left to the experts. However, the best advice is to do both: examine your skin yourself regularly and have your doctor do a full-body exam during your annual physical. When it comes to skin cancer, it's very clear that an ounce of prevention is worth the proverbial pound of cure.

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