Early signs of skin cancer can go unnoticed, which is dangerous because quick treatment is often critical to stopping its spread. However, when skin cancer is detected and treated in its early stages, most of it can be cured. That’s why The Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center of Southwest Florida encourages patients to come into the office for a comprehensive skin examination if they notice any signs of cancer during their regular monthly self-exams. It also advises adults over 40 to get an annual comprehensive skin examination.
During a skin exam, the dermatologist will scan your entire body for any suspicious signs of skin cancer. The doctor will typically start by looking closely at your head, ears and nose as well as at the back of the neck because these areas are most likely to have sun exposure. However, even areas that don’t get a lot of sun, such as places that are normally covered by clothing and the areas between your toes and at the bottoms of your feet, will be carefully surveyed too. If there is a spot or mole that concerns you, this is also the time to point it out to the doctor. During the exam, a medical assistant will make a record of any findings noted by the dermatologist, and these notes will be included in your medical record.
Sometimes the dermatologist finds a spot that needs to be treated or biopsied right away. For example, cryotherapy may be used to freeze off suspected pre-cancer that does not go deeper than the top layers of your skin, or a skin biopsy may be necessary if you have a suspicious mole or lesion. The sample will be sent to a lab for a pathologist to examine for cancer cells. If any are present, your doctor will call you and tell you whether you need further treatment. At the end of your skin examination, the dermatologist will talk to you about any findings or recommended treatments. While one in five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their lives, it is likely that your exam will not turn up anything serious. However, the only sure way to catch skin cancer in its early stages, before it becomes more serious, is to get your yearly skin examinations if you are 40 or over and to make an appointment for a comprehensive skin examination if you ever find any suspicious-looking lesions or moles on your skin.
To Schedule A Comprehensive Skin Examination Call The Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center of SouthWest FL At (941) 625-2898