Skin cancer can go undetected easily. We don’t always pay close attention and often don’t know what to look for when it comes to early signs of it. For that reason, full body skin cancer screenings exist, performed by trained professionals who can determine the difference between a benign growth and one with far worse implications.
Skin cancer screenings are deliberate appointments in which an experienced provider thoroughly examines a patient’s skin on all areas of the body, providing special attention to areas most accessed by the sun over the years.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that adults get skin cancer screenings at least once a year in order to detect any potential skin cancer growths early. If you have previously had skin cancer, more frequent skin exams are necessarily due to the increase in likelihood that cancer will return.
After you schedule your appointment, the skin cancer screening is hands-off from there. Your provider will take care of everything! Here’s what you can expect for your appointment:
- You’ll arrive and get checked in as usual
- A medical assistant will greet you and take you back to the exam room
- They will begin by asking questions to understand your skin
- You will then ask any questions about the process if you want
- You will be provided a gown to change into while the provider leaves the room
- They will return and perform the skin check
- Everywhere from your scalp, behind the ears, and between fingers and toes will be examined
- They may use a dermatoscope to view certain areas closer
- Should anything of concern be found, a biopsy may be recommended with other necessary steps
- You will change and be free to go!
Skin cancer can come in many forms. Your dermatologist will look for very specific occurrences when examining your skin, using the ABCDE guide of skin cancer, and will be on the lookout for how this appears in the many forms of cancer listed below.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most popularly diagnosed skin cancer and is more common in those who have been exposed to sun excessively in their youth, including receiving many sunburns. While requiring a biopsy to confirm, the appearance is typically shiny, skin-colored or pink bump that’s translucent.
SCC can often appear as scaly patches, open sores, or rough textured skin that doesn’t seem to heal. It can take on many appearances and may be itchy and crusty. These appear mostly in sun-exposed areas of the body, but can show up elsewhere too.
Melanoma is the most deadly of the skin cancers as it’s the one will the highest chance of spreading to other areas of the body. It looks like uneven coloring that’s darker, including shades of brown, black, and tan. These growths typically get larger in size and can be the size of a pea or larger.
Yes! Insurances cover skin cancer screenings, though depending on the plan, you may end up putting down a copay for the visit.