It is recommended that adults have a full-body skin examination by a dermatologist at least once a year, especially if they are at a higher risk for skin cancer, including:
- A family history of melanoma
- A history of melanoma or non-melanoma skin cancers, such as squamous cell carcinoma or basal cell carcinoma
- Numerous moles on the skin or a history of changing moles
- Regular sun exposure and/or sun damage
A skin cancer screening involves a visual examination of your entire body to check for any suspicious-looking spots that may or may not be cancerous. This is essential in detecting malignancy in its earliest stages, so it can be effectively treated. Also, by detecting precancerous lesions, a skin cancer screening can help prevent the development of future skin cancer.
If you have never undergone a full-body screening before, you may be wondering what to expect when you visit a skin cancer surgery center. Here’s a preview:
Before Your Appointment
A skin cancer screening appointment is nothing to worry about. However, you can help make the process go more smoothly by taking the following steps:
- Make a note of any specific spots you are concerned about and want the dermatologist to examine them. Point them out to the doctor during the exam.
- Do not wear any makeup on the day of your appointment.
- Make sure any bandages, braces, or other items covering your skin can be removed for the exam.
- Remove all jewelry before the exam.
During the Exam
For a full-body exam, you will need to undress and put on a provided gown or sheet. Typically, the exam takes between 15 and 30 minutes to complete.
During the screening, your doctor will examine all visible areas of your body, focusing especially on your scalp, ears, face, neck, chest, abdomen, back, buttocks, extremities, between your fingers and toes, your ankles, and possibly the inside of your lips. If a spot needs to be observed in greater detail, the doctor may use a dermoscopy, a magnifying tool with a light attached to it.
If a suspicious-looking spot is found, the doctor may want to photograph it and perform a biopsy, which is a simple and painless procedure to remove questionable tissue for lab testing. A biopsy can be performed on the same day as your appointment.
First, the area of the skin with the lesion is cleaned and injected with an anesthetic to numb the area. The doctor then uses a blade or scalpel to obtain a sample of the skin cells, which are sent to a lab for testing. When the results of the biopsy are available, your doctor will contact you with the findings and discuss the next steps if treatment is required.
Skin Cancer Surgery Center in Miami, Florida
Visiting Dr. T.J. Giuffrida at Dermatology and Skin Care Center in Miami, Florida, is always a pleasant, informative, and reassuring experience. Dr. Giuffrida is one of the leading skin cancer specialists in the United States, which explains why patients from around the globe come to our clinic for his expert diagnoses and treatments.
Dr. Giuffrida is fellowship trained in Mohs micrographic surgery, which is the best treatment for the most common types of skin cancer. As a board-certified dermatologist, he can discuss treatment alternatives and advise you on which method of skin cancer treatment is best for you.