What to look for to detect malignant skin cancer:
This month is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, so if you have been waiting for some added motivation to get your skin examined by a physician, let that fact be it.
Health organizations all over the country are stepping up efforts to raise the public’s awareness of skin cancer. A large part of the effort is dedicated to encouraging people to get their skin checked out by a dermatologist, and for good reason: the majority of skin cancers are successfully treated when detected early.
Wondering what to expect at your dermatologist’s office during your full-body skin exam? Don’t worry, it’s a short and painless visit, but a very important one. Dermatologists are specially trained to analyze the spots or lesions on your skin, and determine which ones might be cancerous. Expect a head-to-toe visual examination while wearing a hospital gown that will take about 10-15 minutes, depending on how many moles you have. Digital or photographic images of spots may be taken, and if there is a suspicious mole, a biopsy might be performed to confirm or deny the presence of cancer.
To prepare for your skin cancer exam, do the following:
- Perform a self-exam before your appointment and take note of any suspicious looking spots or changing spots on the skin. Report your findings to your doctor.
- Remove nail polish from fingernails and toenails, as skin cancers can form on nails or nail beds and will need to be inspected by the dermatologist.
- Write down any questions you have about preventing or treating skin cancer so you can ask them at the appointment.
Aside from doing your best to stay protected from the sun’s harmful rays, early detection is your best bet against all forms of skin cancer, including melanoma–the deadliest kind.
Need to make your appointment? Contact Zimmet Vein & Dermatology online or give us a call at (512) 485-7700.