Skin cancer screening is one of the most important elements to help reduce risks factors for skin cancer. It is recommended for both men and women to undergo a full body skin exam once a year, and to perform self-exams at least once a month. If you have a personal history of skin cancer, or are immunocompromised, your practitioner may recommend more frequent screenings. Most skin cancers are curable when diagnosed early, and routine skin checks can help you achieve your best skin health.
At the start of your skin cancer screening, you will put on a medical gown and your dermatology practitioner will begin the process of professionally examining your skin. The exam usually starts with the scalp, and proceeds all the way down to the toes, including behind the ears, neck, chest, back, arms, legs and feet. During this process, your practitioner will be looking for any suspicious looking spots, and addressing any concerns that you may personally have.
If any suspicious spots are found, your practitioner may proceed to recommend and perform a biopsy. This procedure consists of numbing the area, and removing either a part, or the entirety of the lesion to be sent to a lab for additional testing. A biopsy is one of the most definitive ways we can assess whether a lesion is cancerous or benign, and therefore is an important step if warranted during your skin check.
Some helpful tips to assist your practitioner during your evaluation is to remove all makeup, wear your hair in a loose style, and to point out any new or changing moles/lesions you may have noticed. We love to educate, so please feel free to ask any questions and address any concerns you may have during your visit!