Skin cancer screening allows us to kind of do a thorough evaluation of your skin to see what’s developing, whether that’s a very natural growth or whether that’s an abnormal growth. In Arizona we get so much sun exposure on a daily basis that over time obviously that accumulates.
When you come in for a skin cancer screening, we want to make sure that we’re not only looking at the areas of the body that get routine amounts of sun exposure such as the arms, the legs, and the face. But, we also want to look at areas that may not get as much over time. We’re going to be very thorough when you come in. We’re going to ask that you expose areas such as the chest, the back, the abdomen. We’re going to check through your scalp and even look at the bottom of your feet to make sure that there is nothing that we could be overlooking that could have developed over time.
In the process of a skin cancer screening we ask that you come into the room. We ask that you disrobe to the degree that you’re comfortable with, and then we’ll do a thorough evaluation that’s a step-by-step approach. We look at each area of the body very thoroughly, make sure that there is not anything that looks abnormal and as we go we try to discuss with you what we’re seeing. Things that may be completely normal, we just want to make sure that we’re educating you on what we’re seeing and that way you leave feeling like you know what you’re seeing in the mirror.
So things that may appear abnormal to us are going to be things that don’t look uniform in color, that don’t look uniform in shape, that have irregularity both in borders or in color or appearance. We’re looking for sores that don’t heal and things that are bleeding as well.
I feel like our approach is a little bit different because we try first and foremost to make sure that our patients are comfortable. So the first thing that we do when we enter the room is to try to establish a really open dialogue and open lines of communication with our patients. We want to make sure that whatever concerns or questions you have are being answered as well as making sure that we’re doing our best to educate you about what we’re seeing.
Everyone is at risk for skin cancer, especially in the sunny state of Arizona. However, some factors put you at a higher risk for developing skin cancer, including pale skin, family history of melanoma, being over 40 years old, and regular sun exposure. Skin cancers vary in shape, color, size and texture, so any new, changed or otherwise suspicious growths should be examined immediately by a physician. Early intervention is essential in preventing the cancer from spreading. During a skin cancer screening, you can expect an examination of the skin from scalp to feet (or to your comfort level). In addition to the examination, skin growths are evaluated and you will be educated on any growths by our dermatologists and skin care experts, and all suspicious growths will be biopsied.