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.

Skin Cancer Screening for Moles and Skin Problems

screen for skin cancer

Got Skin Issues? Get Screened

Skin cancer is a result of the skin getting old and losing its capacity to govern the rate at which skin cells get replaced. The skin is actually the largest organ in the human body and covers the entire body. Constant exposure to the sun can lead to skin cancer, and that is why it is prevalent in people who are constantly exposed to the sun, like sportsmen and others who are required to always be outdoors.

Regularly Check Your Skin

The most serious form of skin cancer is melanoma and this can be fatal. Skin cancer can be prevented or controlled if you go in for regular skin screening, especially after you have crossed the age of fifty. It is a fact that most people spend some time before the mirror, every day, and if you have the tendency for your skin to discolor, show dark spots and moles, you will do well to carefully inspect your skin for any signs of skin problems.

See a Dermatologist for Screening

A dermatologist is one who specializes in skin diseases and is the right person to go for skin cancer screening. You must go to this specialist if you find that moles are changing in size and color. This doctor will screen all affected parts of the body, and will, in fact, examine all parts of the body to detect any anomalies that point to the likelihood of skin problems. This will include the scalp.

If the doctor has any doubts he will conduct a biopsy and send a sample of the affected part for a laboratory checkup. The biopsy is conducted with a local anesthetic injected into the affected area of the skin, and a biopsy needle, a hollow pipe, used to extract a sample of the skin. A pathologist examines the skin under a microscope to determine whether there is a presence of cancer cells.

Biopsies

When a biopsy indicates the presence of a malignancy the dermatologist may recommend procedures to excise the cancerous parts. Cosmetologists will operate on the face or other sensitive parts of the body, to remove cancer cells and do plastic surgery to remodel the skin.

Small lesions or moles that are cancerous can also be removed by cryosurgery and this method is fairly effective. Cryosurgery involves the use of nitrogen liquid that is sprayed onto cancer-affected areas. This procedure literally gives the skin a cold burn, and the cells are burnt and absorbed by the body. Scabs can form, but these will fall off after a few days, leaving the skin bright and clear.

Melanomas that are detected early have survival rates that are almost a hundred percent and may not recur for at least five years. The patient has to take care to use sunscreen and take other means to avoid direct exposure to the sun.

Once any such problems are detected, it is advisable that you go in for regular skin screening at least once a year. Keep an eye on your skin and do contact the dermatologist if you have any doubts or notice some aberrations.