About skin screening

It is recommended that you receive a full body skin exam by a dermatologist at least once annually, and more often if you have certain risk factors, such as a personal or family history of skin cancer, many atypical nevi, history of severe sunburn, or taking drugs that suppress the immune system.

Your dermatologist will carefully search for signs of skin cancer, pre-cancers such as actinic keratoses, atypical moles, and signs of other skin disease.

During a full body skin exam, your dermatologist will examine you from head to toe.  You will be asked to change into a gown for modesty, but it is important that your dermatologist examine all areas of your body.  If you are a female patient being examined by a male doctor, a female chaperon will be present for the exam.

Be sure to point out to your dermatologist any areas of concern, such as a new growth or changing mole.  Your dermatologist may use additional diagnostic tools during the exam, such as a dermatoscope or a Wood’s light.

A full body skin exam is an important component of health screening.  Ask your dermatologist about scheduling one.  You can also often find free skin screenings organized by local hospitals or through the American Academy of Dermatology.

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