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Skin Cancer Screening

What is a screen cancer screening?

A skin cancer screening or total body skin exam is when your body is looked over from head to toes and everywhere in between looking for skin cancer.

Do I need to prepare for a skin cancer screening?

There are some things you can do to make the experience as valuable as possible.  Come prepared with any areas of concern you want to point out.  Also, no make-up does make it easier to visualize spots of concern.  If you have make-up on it is easier to miss a spot of concern.  You are welcome to bring your make-up along and apply after your visit.

What happens when the nurse rooms me?

At Ocean Drive Dermatology, we pride ourselves in making sure the patient is comfortable.  First, you will be offered a cloth gown (not those crinkly paper gowns).  You will have a few minutes to undress and put the gown on.  If the room happens to be cold or you are a little chilled, we offer warmed blankets in each of our exam rooms.  We want to make sure you are comfortable.  You will have the option to keep your undergarments on or take them off.  Keep in mind that a total body skin cancer screening does involve checking between the buttocks, breasts, and pubic area.  Remember, there is no need to be embarrassed.  To us, it is just skin.  We are not passing any judgment and want to provide you the best possible skin cancer screening.

What happens during the skin cancer screening?

Once you are ready to go, either Nick Woltjen, PA-C or Maxwell Poling, PA-C and a nurse will enter the exam room.  Typically, they will talk with you for a few minutes about your skin cancer history, use of sunscreens, whether you have any specific spots of concern, etc.  they will typically start by looking at your scalp.  Then he will examine the face, ears, and neck.  You might see him use a dermatoscope that allows him to visualize a mole better.

Next, we move on to the chest.  Here we will take one arm out of the gown at a time.  You will never be left exposed on the exam chair.  Think of this more like how a massage therapist exposes body parts one at a time and keeps everything else covered.  Same thing here.  After the chest, arms, and abdomen are examined we will move to the legs and feet.

Finally, we will have you flip over, cover you back up, and look at the back, buttocks, and back of the legs.

That is all there is to a skin cancer screening.  It is quick, easy, and always with your comfort in mind.

What if I need a biopsy?

During the skin check we will alert you of any areas that are suspicious for skin cancer.  Most of the time we will recommend a simple biopsy to determine if the spot of concern is cancer or not.  The good news is that a biopsy is quick and easy.  Usually during the same office visit we can perform one or more biopsies, if needed.  We then send them to the pathology lab and await the results.

What happens after the biopsy?

Wound care for a biopsy is usually a band-aid and Vaseline and showering is allowed 24 hours later.  Infection is very rare from a skin biopsy.  We will contact you once your results are back and let you know what is was and the options to resolve it.

How often do I need a skin cancer screening?

This is individualized for each patient, but if you have never had a history of skin cancer, we recommend a yearly visit.  If you have had a recent basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma, we recommend every six months and more frequently for melanoma.

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