Skin Cancer Check: What To Expect

skin cancer checkup

Your Skin Cancer Treatment

If there are suspicious moles on your skin, you need to make an appointment with a dermatologist. Even smaller towns usually have a dermatologist, and most cities will have quite a few. For example, Orlando, Florida, has over 60 dermatology practices, for instance Exquisite Dermatology , Mid FL Dermatology, Reflections Derm, Knipe Dermatology and many others.

The first visit, the doctor will perform a full body skin examination as part of the skin cancer consultation. If there are unusual spots in your body, the doctor or nurse should take photographs. You need to return later to have the unusual spots removed as well as to have follow-up photographs taken to check for any changes.

The Initial Consultation

During this session, the doctor will speak about risk factors for skin cancer or any relevant issues in your medical history such as operations, illnesses, allergies or medications. It’s prudent to fill out the registration form before seeing the doctor to make this process easier. The doctor should also speak to you about any spots on your body that you’re concerned about as how frequently you need to have check-ups.

Full Body Examination

There are many skin cancers that go unnoticed or undetected and a full body examination might reveal some problems that the patient didn’t know in the first place. The doctor examines the whole body, looking for moles with unusual shapes or colors as well as abnormal skin lesions. Unless you request one, there is no examination of the genital area. Note that, skin cancers are quite rare around this area.

The scalp is also examined, especially if you’re bald. It’s rare for skin cancer lesions to appear on a full head of hair. If you don’t want a full body examination, the doctor can examine the specific spots or lesions that you’re worried about.

If there are any unusual spots, the doctor will use a dermoscope, an instrument that magnifies and illuminates the skin. That way, the doctor can clearly see through the top layer.
Photographs are taken using the highest resolution and analyzed to get more information about the specific spot. It’s advisable to take photographs of the whole body to check for any new spots that might appear during the second visit.

Follow-Up

Depending on the outcome of your skin-check, the follow-up visit should involve the following. If there are unusual spots on your skin, the doctor will ask you to return in 3 months for the follow-up visit. He/she will take more photographs and reexamine the spots. If there are no significant changes, it is less likely that you have skin cancer.

If the spots look abnormal, arrangements should be made to remove or diagnose the lesion. A biopsy is performed to determine whether the lesion is cancerous or not. Depending on the abnormality of the lesion, the doctor will provide appropriate recommendations on whether or not you should return for a follow-up.

If a cancerous mole or skin lesion is discovered, the doctor should advise you on the best treatment methods. Of course, the first step is determining the stage of the cancer. If the dermatologist is not equipped to handle the case, he/she can recommend another specialist who will provide you with the best care and treatment.