We all know that going to the doctor can be a little nerve-racking, especially if you are unsure of what to expect. Having a better understanding of what the appointment will involve can ease any anxiety and make you feel more comfortable throughout the process. For patients having any type of skin check, annual skin exam, full-body skin exam, or skin cancer screening, we’ve outlined a few things you can expect during your appointment.
A typical skin cancer screening appointment is conducted by a dermatologist. To begin, the doctor’s nurse will ask you several questions about your history and have you undress and put on a medical exam gown. Next, your doctor will look over your skin from head to toe, in a particular order, checking for any unusual spots, moles, or irregularities. This is also a good time to bring up any concerns you may have about your skin, as your dermatologist will be able to inspect this area closer.
It is best to come with no make-up on and to take off your bra, socks, and any other tight-fitting garments that are difficult to remove. If your spouse or partner has any spots they are concerned about, you can always have them circle them with a sharpie prior to the appointment to make sure all of your concerns are addressed.
If your dermatologist notices any suspicious moles or spots, he or she will look closer at them with a special light called a dermatoscope. In some instances, a biopsy is recommended, where a sample is taken and the tissue is looked at in a lab under a microscope. This type of testing is necessary to diagnose skin cancer and takes 1-2 weeks to get results. In other instances, spots are treated with cryotherapy or liquid nitrogen, which is a tool that takes off the top layer of skin.
After your exam, your doctor will recommend how often you should undergo a skin check. Patients who have no sun damage and no personal or family history of skin cancer, do not necessarily need yearly skin exams. However, for patients with a history of Melanoma or Non-melanoma skin cancer, it is a good idea to have a skin check conducted more often so that you can catch any issues early. Also, monthly skin exams at home are very important to be aware of any moles or growths that change color, size, or shape.
Our experienced team at Knoxville Center for Dermatology and Plastic Surgery is well-trained in handling any of your skincare needs. If you want to set up an annual skin check appointment or have any pre-existing skin concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out. Give us a call (865) 470-4127 to schedule an appointment or contact us through our website.