As part maintaining your health, the American Academy of Dermatology and the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that you make an appointment for a skin check once a year, or more often if you are at a higher risk of skin cancer, for a full-body, professional skin exam.
To help you prepare and make the most of your appointment, follow these five simple steps.
- Perform a self-exam and come to your appointment prepared with notes of any new, changing or unusual spots you want to point out to your provider. We recommend you perform a monthly check of your skin. Visit HERE for how to perform a Self-Exam.
- Remove nail polish from your fingers and toes to enable thorough examination of fingers, nails and nail beds, since skin cancers can form there too.
- Wear your hair loose. Remove pony tails, buns or hair clips so that your provider can get a good look at your scalp where skin cancers can, and do, develop.
- Pack makeup remover to bring to your appointment and REMOVE ANY MAKE-UP before your exam so that the skin on your face is easy to examine.
- Ask questions. This is your opportunity to get valuable advice and insight from a professional trained specifically in diseases of the skin. From explanations of unfamiliar terms to pointers on how to do a skin self-exam, your provider is an excellent source of information!
During the exam
If you’ve never had atypical moles or skin cancer, the exam will likely be brief. However, if necessary, your provider may biopsy one or more suspicious spots. This usually means removing part or all of the lesion and sending it to a lab for analysis. If the report comes back that the spot is skin cancer, our office will contact you and explain the type of skin cancer and treatment options.
Remember that early detection of skin cancer is the key to the most minimal and cost-effective treatment with the highest chance of a cure. Make your appointment soon!