The Full Body Skin Check for Early Detection of Skin Cancer

One in five people will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Though over exposure to the sun and UV radiation are often the cause, anyone of any age or skin type can get skin cancer on any part of the body covered with skin, including the bottoms of the feet and inside the mouth. The condition results from an abnormal growth of skin cells. The best thing you can do is to get skin cancer diagnosed as early as possible, and the best way to do that is a full body skin check.

Risk of skin cancer increases if you take certain medications, including antibiotics and hormones, which increase the likelihood your skin will be damaged by overexposure to the sun. In addition, scars are vulnerable to developing skin cancer.

Skin cancer has many symptoms, but all appear as abnormalities on the skin. From new moles and growths to bumps and lesions, knowing which skin imperfections are cancerous and which are benign can be very difficult. This means an annual skin check is an important step to preventing cancer development.

Easy detection of skin abnormalities and cancer is key to easier and more effective treatment. A full body skin check by one of West County Dermatology’s board-certified dermatologists is good preventative medicine that takes only 10 to 20 minutes. Children should have their first skin check at 1 year of age and every year thereafter. In addition, adults should conduct self-checks monthly to look for changes, new moles, or growths. Taking up just minutes every year, a full body skin check is the best and easiest way to stop cancer development.

What to Expect from Your Annual Skin Check

During your annual skin check, you will be asked to provide your history of sun and tanning bed exposure and medication use, along with family history of skin cancer. Be sure to mention any changes in moles or areas of your skin, as this can more quickly point your doctor toward abnormal growth. Your dermatologist will check your body literally from head to toe – from your scalp to the bottoms of your feet – so be sure to avoid wearing anything to your appointment that blocks access to your skin, such as nail polish, makeup, or having hair pulled back or up.

Your doctor may use a dermatoscope, a lighted magnifying class, to more closely examine moles or suspicious areas. Your doctor may also take photographs of moles to serve as baseline comparisons for the future. Tell your doctor if you feel uncomfortable having any part of your body examined.

While a one-time skin check useful, scheduling an appointment each year can be life-saving. Having multiple appointments with the same doctor will allow them to become familiar with your case, and evidence from previous years can be used to measure mole and spot growth more effectively than a single visit.

Whether you’ve noticed a strange new growth or want to start a healthy habit, scheduling an appointment with one of our dermatologists is the best way forward.

 

Contact us to schedule an appointment or virtual visit today.

 

*Results may vary per patient.