A key part of staying healthy is being proactive, and that includes regular check-ups with your entire healthcare team. Consequently, a skin check should be one of the top priorities, especially if you live in sunny areas.
The skin is the largest and quite dynamic organ in our body. Or as specialists, such as https://www.baysidecosmeticclinic.com.au/, like to put it: our skin often reflects the health of our body and overall nutrition status.
So why is it so important to do your skin check?
There is so much we can learn about our patient’s health through their skin exam. Particularly, skin cancer is fairly common, but don’t fret! Many types of skin cancers are curable, especially if detected early. Finding skin cancer at its earlier stage makes most of these malignancies treatable and curable with just a simple surgical excision.
Preparing For A Skin Check
Before Skin Check Appointment
Not only is it important to come in for a skin check but also doing regular checkups of your skin at home. That way you can point out the precarious skin spots. A full-length mirror as well as a handheld mirror may be helpful to see far reaching spots, such as your neck, back, and buttocks.
At The Skin Check Appointment
In a regular exam, the doctor would check the entire body. Patients might as well be prepared to be in a hospital gown for that. Your doctor will use a dermatoscope, a little apparatus with magnifying light with a polarising lens, so he/she can really carefully look at the symmetry issue, borders, and color variations of spots.
On the day of your skin check appointment, your skin mustn’t be covered by makeup, nail polish, and your hair should be let down. Your doctor will want to examine your scalp, and your nails, too.
The actual skin check takes from 10 to 30 minutes depending on your skin type and the number of spots, moles, and other blemishes that require examination.
What If a Doctor Finds Something Suspicious?
If you have any moles or spots which require testing, your doctor will tell you straight away. In rare cases, and for the sake of caution, he or she would actually proceed to perform a surgical biopsy. Not to worry, though. It’s a small and simple procedure:
It involves numbing the area around the spot with a local anesthetic, then scraping a small sample of the lesion. After that, the sample is sent for analysis. In most cases, your next appointment will be made to remove the abnormal mole.
If you have a larger lesion or melanoma – the most serious type of skin cancer – you may require an invasive procedure called excision. Excision may be used if the cancerous growth is nestled deeper, under the very top of your skin. The primary tool used in this procedure is a sharp razor. Yikes!
Sometimes, a suspicious mole doesn’t need to be biopsied. Instead, your doctor will take a photo of it and compare if there are any changes during your next checkup.
How Often Should I Get a Skin Exam?
The answer to this question will provide your medical history and your skin cancer risk. If you’ve had skin cancer or if you’re at high risk of getting one, you should consider yearly checkups.
You are considered to be at high risk of skin cancer if you have any of the following:
- A family history of skin cancer
- A personal history of skin cancer
- More than 50 moles
- High sensitivity to the sun
- Freckles and red hair
- Went through radiation therapy, or other cancer treatments
- Visits to tanning salons
- Too much sun exposure
Having a routine skin check by your healthcare professional once a year can actually make a big difference. But remember, being self-aware is key. Performing this self-skin examination regularly can go a long way. With today’s technology, there’s a lot less reason for concern – just stay vigilant!