Who should be screened for skin cancer?

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

By Jason Howland

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. Each year, more than 6 million adults are treated for skin cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Collin Costello, M.D., a Mayo Clinic dermatologist, says anyone can get skin cancer, but some people are at higher risk. Watch this "Mayo Clinic Minute" video to learn how often you should be screened:

A skin check by a dermatologist usually only takes a few minutes, but that short time spent in the doctor's office could add years to your life if skin cancer is detected early.

"I think one of the big things with screening is, because there aren't really rigorously set national guidelines, that we really look to risk factors to help guide who needs to be screened and how frequently," says Dr. Costello.

Dr. Collin Costello checks for skin cancer.

He says it's important that everyone is familiar with their skin. And you should see a healthcare professional if you notice any changes, like suspicious moles or spots. But for anyone who is at higher risk, an annual skin exam by a dermatologist is a good idea.

"People with personal and family history of melanoma and then personal history of nonmelanoma skin cancers, people over the age of 65, particularly people that burn easily, you know, get sunburned easily as well as have light-colored eyes and light-colored hair — those are the people that are going to benefit the most from the skin cancer screening," says Dr. Costello.

Learn more

Learn more about skin cancer and find a clinical trial.

Join the Skin Health Support Group on Mayo Clinic Connect, an online community moderated by Mayo Clinic for patients and caregivers.

Also, read these articles:

A version of this article was originally published on the Mayo Clinic News Network.