As you’re outlining your health-related goals for 2017, Mooresville Dermatology Center wants you to include getting a full-body skin exam on the list. Early detection is key in preventing skin cancer, which is estimated to affect one in five Americans.
Our staff is specially trained to perform thorough whole body exams to check for moles and skin growth. If you’ve never had a full-body skin check done before, here is what you can expect at this common and simple procedure:
- The exam will take just 15 to 20 minutes.
- During your visit, you’ll be asked a series of questions, including:
- Does your family have any history of skin cancer?
- Do you regularly use sunscreen?
- Have you ever used tanning beds?
- What medications do you currently take? Certain medications increase sun sensitivity and decrease the immune system, affecting a person’s chances of developing skin cancer.
- If you have concerns about particular moles or skin growths, point them out to the doctor. Describe what concerns you (change in color, shape, size, sudden appearance, etc.).
- Do not to wear makeup or nail polish to the appointment and wear your hair loose so the doctor can easily examine your scalp.
- You will fully undress but wear a gown.
- A physician examines each part of your skin.
- A dermatoscope, or special magnifying glass with a light, may be used to more closely examine certain marks.
If the physician sees an unusual mark, be prepared that a biopsy might be done.
A local anesthetic will be used and a small tissue sample taken to examine under a microscope. A biopsy does not mean you have skin cancer. If the examined tissue reveals skin cancer, the remainder of the growth will be removed. If atypical cells are found, the physician may decide to remove them or photograph them and have you come back to see if any changes have occurred.
With the start of the New Year, make it a new habit to get an annual full-body skin exam. Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Naomi Simon of Mooresville Dermatology Center encourages everyone to have their skin examined each year and to discuss any skin changes with a medical provider for proper evaluation and treatment.