The Full Body Skin Check for Early Detection of Skin Cancer

One in five people will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Though over exposure to the sun and UV radiation are often the cause, anyone of any age or skin type can get skin cancer on any part of the body covered with skin, including the bottoms of the feet and inside the mouth.

Risk of skin cancer increases if you take certain medications, including antibiotics and hormones, which increase the likelihood your skin will be damaged by overexposure to the sun. In addition, scars are vulnerable to developing skin cancer.

Early detection of skin abnormalities and cancer is key to easier and more effective treatment. A full body skin check by one of West County Dermatology’s board-certified dermatologists is good preventive medicine that takes only 10 to 20 minutes. Children should have their first skin check at 1 year of age and every year thereafter. In addition, adults should conduct self-checks monthly to look for changes, new moles, or growths.

What to Expect from Your Annual Skin Check

You will be asked to provide your history of sun and tanning bed exposure and medication use, along with family history of skin cancer. Be sure to mention any changes in moles or areas of your skin. Your dermatologist will check your body literally from head to toe — your scalp to the bottoms of your feet — so be sure to avoid wearing anything to your appointment that blocks access to your skin, such as nail polish, makeup, or having hair pulled back or up. Your doctor may use a dermatoscope, a lighted magnifying glass, to more closely examine moles or suspicious areas. Your doctor may also take photographs of moles to serve as baseline comparisons for the future. Tell your doctor if you feel uncomfortable having any part of your body examined.


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*Results may vary per patient.