What to Expect at a Skin Cancer Screening

If you’re like me, you hate going to the doctor. But skin cancer screenings are important, especially if you have had it in the past, have a family history of skin cancer, or have a suspicious mole or sore. Here is what to expect at a skin cancer screening to set your mind at ease.

Not another doctor visit

I admit I hate going to the doctor. You have to adjust your daily schedule, sit in a waiting room forever, and, then, it seems that by the time you’re done, the whole day is wasted. This is especially true for me lately due to a diagnosis with renal cell carcinoma, a bulging disc, and sciatica. The last thing I want to do is see another doctor. But having had skin cancer twice, it is important. And it’s important for others too.

What to expect at a skin cancer screening

Fortunately, a skin cancer screening isn’t like some doctor visits. It’s not invasive, you don’t have to get a shot, and it’s simply the doctor looking at your skin.

The first thing a new dermatologist will want is your family history and your medical history. Once you get to see the doctor, you may have to take off your clothes and put on a gown. This depends on the reason you’re seeing the doctor, in some cases.

What I mean by that is if you are seeing the doctor for a particular sore or mole, they will most likely address that the same day - and only that.

If you’re going for a screening to see if there are any issues, then yes, you may have to wear the gown. This is so the doctor can look at areas like your back or your toes.

Checking everywhere

As mentioned, the doctor will check your back, but they will check other places too. For example, your feet, your scalp, behind your ears, and all the places you might not think of when thinking of skin cancer. You see, it can be tricky and affect areas you’d never guess. And you may even see the doctor use a magnifying glass to check smaller areas of interest.

And the reason for the gown? In some cases, the dermatologist may want to check more sensitive areas like your buttocks or genitals.

In my case, I always went when there was an issue, and had them fix those areas. I’ve never had these other areas checked. My screenings have been more of a checkup to see how I was faring with the actual skin cancer removal.

But every doctor is different. Your screening may include what I mentioned, while others will find a different experience.

It won't take long

The good news is that this screening doesn’t take long once the doctor arrives. You should expect it to take around 15 minutes. And sure, that doesn’t account for the time you spend getting ready, waiting to be called, etc., but it’s a lot better than finding out you have skin cancer that could have been treated more easily had it been caught early.

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