A skin cancer screening is the visual inspection of your skin, conducted by a licensed dermatologist, to determine if any of the moles, spots, patches, growths, or sores on your skin, or any dark streaks seen through your nails, are potential signs of cancer. Most skin cancer screenings are full-body exams that require you to remove all your clothes and wear a gown.
For someone who has never been diagnosed with skin cancer, the exam itself is relatively quick, and may be over in as little as 10 minutes. Your doctor will examine your skin closely, going over every inch, including your scalp, between your toes, and the soles of your feet, with a special magnifying device. If you have a lot of moles, the exam may take a little longer.
If something suspicious is found, your doctor may perform a biopsy by removing a layer of skin for examination under a microscope.
Before you go to your skin cancer screening appointment, it’s important to take a moment to make a list of any moles or areas on your skin that concern you, noting any symptoms. This includes any moles, spots, or growths that itch, cause pain, or have changed in appearance.
If you normally wear makeup or nail polish, leave it off or remove it for your appointment. Some cancers start in the nail bed, so it’s important for your dermatologist to be able to examine your fingernails and toenails. If you usually apply moisturizer, lotion, or sunscreen, don’t put it on until after your screening.
Skin cancer may take the form of a changing mole or a mole that looks different from your other moles. It may also look like a dome-shaped growth, scaly patch, non-healing sore, or black streak under a fingernail or toenail. If you notice a spot on your skin that differs from the others, has changed, itches, or bleeds, it’s time to have it checked out by a dermatologist. The ABCDEs of atypical moles are:
At Easton Dermatology Associates, we accept most major insurance plans. Here is a list of some of the plans we accept. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed.