Making My Skin Even Better

What To Expect During Your Skin Cancer Screening

by Virgil Mccoy

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, approximately one in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer before they turn 70. If you are concerned about a suspicious mole, have a history of skin cancer in the family, or are simply concerned about your health, your doctor might schedule a skin cancer screening. If you have never been to this type of appointment, here are a few things you can expect to occur during a skin cancer screening.

Prior to Your Examination

If you fall into a particularly high-risk group, such as a family history of skin cancer, fair skin, an unusual mole, or severe sun-damaged skin, your doctor will often recommend a skin cancer screening. Before the exam, your doctor will often ask you to perform a thorough self-exam at home.

This self-exam will help the doctor gain a better understanding of your overall health and allow you to pinpoint certain areas of potential concern. The best way to perform this exam is to take off your clothing, stand in front of a full-length mirror, and look at as much of your skin as possible. If possible, ask a friend or family member to look at hard-to-see areas, including your scalp.

Make a note of any suspicious moles, sores that are not healing properly, or moles that are new.

During Your Examination

The doctor will ask for a comprehensive family and personal history, including if any of your family members have had any type of cancer. Next, the doctor will provide you with a hospital gown and perform a thorough exam of your skin. The doctor will look at each mole to determine if it is potentially cancerous.

Some signs of a mole being cancerous are if the mole is asymmetrical, meaning the two sides do not match, if the mole is large, or if it is a peculiar color. Once the exam is over, you can get dressed and the doctor will determine if you require a biopsy.

After Your Examination

Finally, once the physical exam is complete, the doctor may need to biopsy one or several moles to determine if the moles have cancerous cells. The biopsy is quick and involves first numbing the affected mole before a small amount of the mole is removed. The mole sample is then tested in a lab and the doctor will provide you with your results.

If you are at risk of developing skin cancer, your doctor might recommend a skin cancer screening. Contact your doctor to learn more about getting a skin cancer examination.