Skin Cancer Screening-What Should You Expect?

A skin cancer screening is a visual exam that may be administered by a healthcare provider. During the screening, the provider checks for unusual marks, moles, birthmarks, and texture. Some of them may be indicators of skin cancer. 

Skin cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer in the United States. Texas is ranked fourth in the United States for newly diagnosed melanoma, a form of skin cancer. Skin cancer screenings in Fort Worth are, therefore, essential.      

If you are at high risk for skin cancer, consider getting annual skin cancer screenings. You may be at high risk if you have:

  • 50 or more moles
  • A family history of melanoma
  • Blonde or red hair
  • Light or blue colored eyes 
  • Freckles
  • A history of severe sunburns
  • A personal history of squamous cell or basal cell cancers

If you are not at an increased risk of getting skin cancer, you should get a skin cancer screening whenever you suspect that something may be wrong. Seek professional help if you notice an irregular spot, discoloration on your skin, or mole.

What to Expect During the Appointment

During your appointment, the doctor will examine your entire body. Skin cancer could occur in any part of your body, including your scalp and your feet’ soles. You need a thorough examination to be sure that there are no signs of cancer. Skin cancers typically fall into three categories:

Melanoma

This is the most aggressive type of skin cancer, but it isn’t very common. It first manifests as an irregular mole. 

Basal Cell

This is a slow-growing type of cancer that rarely spreads. An irregular spot on your skin may signal it. 

Squamous Cell

This type of skin cancer starts with an irregular patch and is likely to spread.

In most cases, your appointment will take just a few minutes. If you don’t have skin cancer, your doctor will give you the advice you need to reduce your chances of getting it.

If they find a suspicious spot or mole during the exam, they will determine the best method to remove it. You may need to schedule a different appointment for it to be removed.

A biopsy will be performed on a sample of your skin, and you will get the results within a few weeks.

Self-Screening

It is possible to do skin-cancer screenings by yourself. If you are at a high risk of getting skin cancer, it is wise to do screenings regularly. You need to use a full-length mirror and a hand mirror in a well-lit room. Follow these steps to complete your exam:

  • Stand in front of a mirror and examine your neck, face, and stomach
  • Raise your arms and check both sides. Look around and under your breasts
  • When examining your hands, look at your forearms, under your fingernails, and between your fingers
  • When examining your scalp, use a comb to part your hair and use a hand mirror to spot any unusual spots. 
  • Use a hand mirror to examine your genitals, buttocks, and back.

Regular skin cancer screenings may help you detect skin cancer and get treatment early. If you suspect that you may have any form of skin cancer, seek professional help as soon as possible.