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Self-examination recommended to assess need of skin cancer tests

Category: Cancer Detection and Tumor Markers

Skin cancer testing for farmers may soon be a regular doctor's order as dermatologists say men and women in this profession are more at risk of developing the disease.

Members of the American Academy of Dermatology say that although farmers are at a high risk of contracting skin cancer, research has shown that they are among the workers who are least likely to receive a skin examination by doctors.

As a safety precaution, physicians from the Academy urge farmers, and others, to begin the process of screening for skin cancer by performing regular self-examinations - a practice that could save lives. Dr David Pariser, president of the Academy, said, "More than 11,000 Americans die each year from skin cancer, but when detected early, skin cancer has a cure rate of 99 percent."

As a guide to self-examinations, dermatologists recommend looking for asymmetry, irregular borders, variations in color, and changes in size or color of moles and skin lesions. In any event, the Academy suggests consulting a dermatologist for more thorough skin tests.

The Skin Cancer Foundation estimates that between 40 percent and 50 percent of Americans who live to the age of 65 will have skin cancer at least once.

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