A full body exam, or skin cancer screening, is an evaluation of the skin done to identify suspicious spots for skin cancer. These types of evaluations are critical because they allow us to detect skin cancer earlier, when they are easier to treat.
When you see a dermatologist for a complete skin checkup, expect a 10-15-minute visit, including a review of your medical history and a head-to-toe skin examination. First, you'll change into a gown. Then during the screening, we will evaluate the skin, making note of any spots that need monitoring or further examination. Depending on the size, color, and location of the growth, a dermatoscope, an instrument that’s essentially a combination of a magnifying glass and a flashlight, may be used in order to get a closer look of the spot.
After the full body exam takes place, we will discuss any next steps that are required. If a suspicious growth was identified, the next steps typically include a biopsy, skin cancer treatment, and a follow-up appointment. If no suspicious growths are identified, we recommend that you perform self-examinations to monitor for any changes or new growths.
The best way to monitor growths on your own is to perform self-exams using the ABCDE guidelines.
A (Asymmetry): Draw a line through the middle of the growth. If the two sides do not match, it’s considered to be asymmetrical.
B (Border): A benign, or cancer-free growth will have smooth and even borders. A cancerous mole, freckle, or spot will have scalloped or notched edges.
C (Color): Most non-cancerous growths are a single shade of brown, whereas cancerous spots contain a variety of colors.
D (Diameter): Benign freckles, moles, or spots usually have a smaller diameter compared to growths that are considered cancerous.
E (Evolving): Common and benign growths will look the same over time. Cancerous growths can change, or evolve, their size, shape, color, or elevation at any time.
Need an appointment to schedule your full body exam? Call (610) 994-2250 or schedule online.
Dr. Alexis Curreri, M.D.
April 11, 2018