An important part of maintaining proper health and wellness is having a routine full body skin exam performed by your experienced dermatologic health care provider. Considering that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, scheduling an annual full body skin exam is essential to identifying it in its earliest stages in order to maintain optimum health. Counting on being able to identify skin cancers on your own is risky given that cancerous lesions can often look like benign moles or sunspots to the naked eye. At Dermatology Associates of Plymouth Meeting, we have the proper expertise and equipment to be able to identify suspicious spots on your skin during a full body skin exam.
What to Expect at Your Full Body Skin Exam
Your full body skin exam will be conducted in the privacy of an exam room in our office by a licensed dermatologic health care provider who has likely conducted hundreds—or thousands—of full body skin examinations. A nurse or medical assistant will also be present to take notes. There is no reason to stress over the exam, as the entire process is quick and completely painless. You will be provided a gown to wear and asked to point out any worrisome moles or spots you have found during your self-examination. Your dermatologic health care provider will be looking for any signs of skin cancer.
Keep in mind that skin cancer is not limited to only areas of your skin that are exposed to sunlight and is not exclusive to people with pale skin. In fact, the famous Jamaican singer and songwriter Bob Marley died from a melanoma skin cancer that started under one of his toenails. For these reasons, our dermatologists want to make sure your full body skin exam is thorough. If you are more comfortable being examined by a dermatologic health care provider of the same gender, simply request it! We are always sensitive to patient concerns about modesty during full body skin exams.
The Importance of Selecting a Board-Certified Dermatologist
We often hear from patients who do not schedule an annual full body skin exam that their primary care provider or general practitioner conducts their routine skin checks. While this is better than not having your skin checked for skin cancer at all, many general practitioners are not able to dedicate the time required for inspecting suspicious lesions while they are also evaluating other patient health issues. Multiple studies have proven the benefits of skin examinations by dermatologists or dermatologic health care providers and shown that these types of skin experts more frequently detect skin cancer in its earliest stages than general practitioners.
Identify Skin Cancer Early
Even though skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, it is also among the most treatable—especially when it is detected early before spreading to other parts of the body. Identifying skin cancer early is most likely when you conduct regular self-examinations of your skin. We recommend doing a head-to-toe self-examination once a month in order to detect new growths and be aware of any changes to existing spots. Suspicious signs to look for are:
- Growths that change in size, color or shape
- Moles with irregular outlines or larger than the size of a pencil eraser
- Spots that itch, hurt or bleed
- Open sores that do not heal within three weeks.
Schedule Your Full Body Skin Exam
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is an old adage that perfectly applies to skin cancer. A full body skin exam is arguably the easiest, fastest, most painless and least invasive cancer screening tool available today. It is a part of our health care that should not be taken for granted. At Dermatology Associates of Plymouth Meeting, we take full body skin exams seriously and we make them as enjoyable as possible for our patients.
Schedule your appointment at Dermatology Associates of Plymouth Meeting for a full body skin examination.