Have you ever put off a dermatology appointment? You know you should go in for a skin check or for another skin health condition, but since it’s not your favorite thing to do, you stall on scheduling?
Getting a full body skin cancer screening can be a daunting task. Patients may feel vulnerable changing into a gown, feeling as if they are exposed. They may be nervous they have skin cancer and unsure if it is life threatening.
Some may also feel embarrassed about their skin condition. Fear of a potentially painful medical procedure, such as a skin biopsy, may cause anxiety for other patients.
But going to the dermatologist doesn’t have to cause anxiety. Especially when you have a dermatologist that you trust.
Will it be awkward for me to get a full body skin exam?
A full body skin exam should not feel awkward. As a dermatology PA, I make patient comfort a priority. Patients wear a gown during a full body skin cancer exam, and I only pull back the gown to look at one area of skin at a time – ensuring the patient is always covered and never exposed. I also communicate what I see to the patient during the entire exam – pointing out normal appearing moles, and at the same time explaining if a skin growth appears abnormal and needs a biopsy.
“In my experience, patients are pleasantly surprised at how minimally invasive a skin exam can be. As dermatology providers, we are trained to detect abnormal-appearing skin growths quickly and a full body skin exam usually does not take more than 5-10 minutes.”
Why is now a good time to get a skin check?
“February has Valentine’s Day, and I also just celebrated my wedding anniversary – what better way to show love to your spouse or partner than encouraging them to visit the dermatologist and get a skin check?”
In fact, I encourage couples to make an appointment at the same time and get their skin cancer screening together. I have many patients who do this and it’s a great way to overcome some of the awkwardness and discomfort that may be associated with visiting the dermatologist.
What if I have a skin issue that I find embarrassing?
Some patients view their skin condition as “embarrassing” and may be hesitant to seek treatment. Such conditions may include warts, lice, or scabies. Sometimes a patient might think their condition is contagious, or they might think they are the only ones suffering from a particular skin issue.
“As a medical provider specializing in hair, skin, and nail disorders, I see these skin conditions multiple times every day and am focused on providing the best treatment options for patients. I think letting the patient know they aren’t the only one facing a particular skin condition helps ease their discomfort and embarrassment.”
Plus, many “embarrassing” skin conditions are quickly and easily treated.
Sometimes a patient may have a concern about their skin in a private body area. When this occurs, the patient changes into a gown and my goal is to put the patient at ease by quickly and efficiently addressing any specific concerns.
Patients dealing with chronic skin conditions such as acne, eczema or psoriasis may feel overwhelmed about how their skin condition looks and feel embarrassed if they don’t have clear skin. The psychosocial impact of some skin disorders can affect patients’ lives, which is why it is important to me as a dermatology provider to develop lasting relationships with patients, so they feel comfortable seeing me.
I’m scared that if I come in, I’ll find out I have skin cancer!
Although it may be scary to be diagnosed with skin cancer, many people might be surprised to know that most skin cancers are completely curable when caught early. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70, and when detected early, the 5-year survival rate for melanoma is 99 percent.
Most of the time, when caught early, patients can be completely cured of skin cancer, and usually we take care of the entire process in our office. Some skin cancers can be extracted by the provider who diagnosed it, and others are treated with Mohs skin cancer surgery by one of our Mohs surgeons at Apex.
“My job as a dermatology PA at Apex is to transform lives through healthy skin – and one of the most important ways I can do this is to promote early detection of skin cancer by encouraging my friends, family and everyone I know to schedule a full body skin cancer exam.”
Apex offers same day appointments, so you won’t have to wait to see a dermatology provider if a new issue concerning skin growth appears. I even see urgent walk-in appointments in my office in Mayfield Heights. That allows me to give my patients peace of mind that a potentially cancerous skin lesion was addressed early, improving the chance of a great outcome.
My circumstances can prevent me from feeling connected to some healthcare providers. How do I choose the right doctor for me?
One of the reasons I love my job as a dermatology PA at Apex is that I get to treat patients of all ages, from infants to 100-year-olds. I have two children of my own, ages 8 and 11, and love working with both kids and adults. I also practice cosmetic dermatology, specializing in injectables like botox and filler.
I spent many years living in Spain and speak fluent Spanish. I love connecting with Spanish-speaking patients and helping them feel at ease during their visit to the dermatologist. It is a privilege to help the Spanish-speaking community in Northeast Ohio understand their skin, hair, or nail disorder in their native language – this is a way I truly feel blessed to transform lives through healthy skin.
If you have a particular concern, give us a call and we’ll set you up with the provider that’s best for you!
Apex Skin is proud to eliminate barriers to healthcare by providing access to great care. Click here to schedule your appointment today.
Megan Sevilla is Physician Assistant certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. She was raised in Concord, Ohio, and graduated from Hawken School in Gates Mills, Ohio. Megan holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Vanderbilt University, where she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society and graduated magna cum laude.
Following her undergraduate education, Megan moved to Washington, D.C., to pursue a master’s degree in international politics from American University. After working many years in government in Washington, D.C. and Madrid, Spain — at organizations including the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, Spain — Megan returned to school and earned a Master of Medical Science degree from Baldwin Wallace University’s Physician Assistant Program in 2021.
Megan recently completed a physician assistant dermatology residency under the mentorship of Dr. Gregory Delost in Apex Dermatology’s Mayfield Heights location. Megan completed additional dermatology training at MetroHealth Medical Center’s Department of Dermatology during her clinical clerkship.