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When Should I Visit My Dermatologist for a Skin Cancer Screening?

doctor examining skin

Skin cancer is a serious and possibly fatal disease. If you have any new or changing skin growths or any moles undergoing changes, it’s important for you to see a dermatologist for a skin cancer screening to confirm it’s benign (non-cancerous).

What Is a Skin Cancer Screening?

A skin cancer screening, also called a skin cancer test, is a comprehensive evaluation of your skin that’s performed by a healthcare professional or dermatologist. Skin cancer screenings are typically done to preemptively detect skin cancer, which is one of the most commonly found cancers in the United States.

What Can You Expect in a Skin Cancer Screening?

A skin cancer evaluation and screening is as easy as going to your dermatologist who checks your body for any questionable moles or changes that could be signs of cancer. It’s done during a regular office visit. There are hard to spot skin areas that you can’t easily see, like on your back or buttocks, that your doctor can thoroughly check in just a few minutes.

Your doctor will closely examine any areas where you’ve noticed an abnormality and may recommend further tests to see if cancer is present.

In addition, a full body exam that takes about 10 to 15 minutes will be performed.

Your dermatologist will be looking for signs of skin cancer using the ABCDE method (which you can also do anytime at home):

Asymmetry - spots that are not evenly shaped on each side
Border - spots with blurred or jagged edges
Color - a spot that has more than one color
Diameter - spots bigger than a 1/4 inch
Evolving - spots that have changed over time

Why Is a Skin Cancer Screening Important?

A visual check by your dermatologist can help find spots on your skin that could be cancerous or could become cancer in the future. That’s important because skin cancer is one of the easiest types of cancer to treat when you catch it early.

A skin cancer screening is especially important if you’ve spent lots of time in the sun’s rays, or if you have fair skin. If you’re not sure of your risks, ask your doctor on how often you should have regular skin cancer screenings.

The Benefits of a Skin Cancer Screening

When melanoma (cancer) is found before it spreads, it also has a high cure rate. Also, catching any cancer early can make the difference between a simple and nearly scar-free cancer removal and a more serious surgery that can have a considerable impact on your life. Another significant benefit of having a screening is that you’ll have peace of mind and a greater awareness of your skin’s changes.

What Is Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer is a condition where abnormal skin cell growth occurs. Common causes of this abnormal cell growth include sun damage or hereditary factors. Skin cancers are commonly found on the face, chest, arms, or hands and other body parts that are most exposed to the sun. The different types of skin cancer include:

  • Basal cell skin cancers
  • Squamous cell skin cancers
  • Melanomas

If you’d like a skin cancer screening, our experienced dermatologists at the Skin Center of South Miami can help. Our doctors are experts regarding skin cancer testing and early cancer detection. We’re committed to providing personalized dermatology care for each and every person. Call us at 305-740-6181 or fill out the form on this page to schedule a consultation today.


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