Skin Cancer Screening Risks

Skin Cancer Screening Risks

Screening for skin cancer can catch tumors while they are still small and easy to treat. However, it is important to know that skin cancer screening tests have potential risks. These risks are outlined below, but should be considered along with consultation with your doctor. Your doctor can answer any questions you may have about screening risks and benefits.

Skin cancer screening risks include:

  • False-Negative Test Results: A screening test does not show signs of cancer even though a cancer is present. No treatment is given even though it may be necessary.
  • False-Positive Test Results: A screening test shows signs of cancer when a cancer is not actually present. Additional tests and treatments are given when they are not needed.
  • Overdiagnosis: Overdiagnosis occurs when a cancer has been identified and treated even though it is asymptomatic or has not bothered the individual before, and which may not become life-threatening. In these cases, it is unknown if treatment will help a patient live longer or if treatment will cause more harm or lead to late-term side effects.
  • Skin cancer screening may not always catch the presence of a cancer.
  • Cancer screening tests may not help you live longer.
  • Biopsies for skin cancer may cause infection or permanent scarring

Your doctor will help you determine if you are at high risk for developing skin cancer. Together, you will weigh skin cancer screening risks as well as the potential benefits so that you can make an informed decision about your health.

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(864) 512-4600
AnMed Cancer Center, 2000 E Greenville St, Anderson, SC 29621

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