In addition to performing a monthly head-to-toe self-examination of your skin to find any irregular lesions, it is also recommended that everyone visits a dermatologist for a routine skin exam at least once a year. If you have a family or personal history of melanoma, a personal history of non-melanoma skin cancer or a history of extensive sun exposure or blistering sunburns, more frequent visits may be recommended. These skin exams are important for the early detection of skin cancer and pre-cancers. The earlier that cancer is diagnosed, the better the chances are of successfully treating it.
Before Your Appointment
Before your visit, perform a self-exam and note any irregular or changing spots on your body. If you have any questions to ask your dermatologist, be sure to write them down so you don’t forget them. Also, remove all nail polish from your fingernails and toenails so they can be examined, as skin cancers can also develop in the nail bed and matrix.
During Your Appointment
During your skin exam, your dermatologist will evaluate your skin from head to toe. This quick, approximately 15-minute visit involves close examination of any moles, growths, or lesions you have. If any suspicious lesions are discovered, Colorado Skin and Vein will recommend a biopsy to determine whether or not the cells are cancerous.
After Your Appointment
Once your exam is complete, you will have the opportunity to ask our doctor any questions you might have. You will be advised as to what to look out for in regards to potentially dangerous lesions. Remember, it’s important to continue performing self-skin exams each month.