Total Body Exams
Dermatologists have special training that includes the diagnosis and management of skin cancers. When you see a dermatologist for a complete skin checkup, expect a 10-15-miinute visit, including a review of your medical history and a head-to-toe skin examination. The purpose of this examination is to look for suspicious lesions, not to comment on every lesion on your body. Some patients think this is an opportunity to ask questions about all sorts of growths and problems on the body but that is not the purpose of this exam-it is to specifically focus on finding suspicious lesions that could be cancerous.
You will fully undress but wear a gown. Ask a nurse or assistant to be present if you’re uncomfortable undressing with just your doctor in the room. Be prepared to take off your shoes and socks. Patients should not wear makeup or nail polish to the appointment. Skin cancers can grow between fingers and toes and on the fingernails and toenails so if you want a thorough exam, you need to be sure not to have those areas covered during the exam.
If a suspicious lesion is found, our team will schedule you for a biopsy to rule out skin cancer. In our office, this procedure is usually scheduled on a future visit, not on the same day as the skin exam.
We recommend that you perform a self-skin check once a month to look for any new or changing moles or lesions. Have a partner help if possible. Learn more about self-skin exams at: SkinCancer.org/selfexam