As part of a complete early detection strategy, we recommend that you see a dermatologist once a year, or more often if you are at a higher risk of skin cancer, for a full-body, professional skin exam.
Skin Cancer Screenings
Annual skin exams are be recommended for anyone who:
- Has a history of melanoma, other skin cancers or precancerous skin lesions.
- Had a first-degree relative who has had melanoma.
- Had a large number of moles or a history of atypical moles.
- Had a history of tanning bed use.
- Had a history of blistering sun burns.
- Had a history of significant regular sun exposure through activities such as boating or living in a sunny location, or occupations such as landscaping or construction.
- Is an organ transplant recipient.
- Is immunocompromised.
Your appointment will involve a thorough examination of your skin, from the top of your scalp to the bottoms of your feet. We will look for suspicious spots that could be cancerous.
There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. While they each look different, the most common warning sign of any kind of skin cancer is a change on the skin, such as a new growth or a visible change in an existing growth or mole.
Ahead of the appointment, make note of any spots on your skin that you’re concerned about, and be sure to bring them up before your doctor gets started.
- Remove all makeup.
- Remove any bandages, braces or other things that may be covering the skin.
- Do not wear jewelry.
- If your doctor doesn’t find anything suspicious, the exam shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes.