In addition to receiving regular checkups from your primary care doctor, you should get periodic skin cancer screenings. Receiving screenings from a trained dermatologist will increase your chance of detecting skin cancer at an earlier, more treatable stage. At Premier Dermatology and Mohs Surgery of Atlanta in Alpharetta, GA, we can protect your health by analyzing your skin during a quick and comfortable screening session.
How Is a Skin Cancer Screening Done?
Receiving a skin cancer screening is a very easy and rewarding process. We will not give you injections, make incisions in your skin, or use other invasive methods during your examination. Instead, we will use non-invasive, gentle techniques to look for skin cancer and other health conditions. As a result, you should feel at ease when you begin your initial screening session in a private room in our office in Alpharetta.
Preparing for Your Screening
Depending on your needs, you may decide to bring a family member or friend to your screening. We will start this process by asking you to put on a special gown. Once you are ready, you should tell us about your medical background. During this discussion, you should let us know if you have a family history of skin cancer or other health issues that affect your skin.
In addition, you should be prepared to tell us about any moles or other blemishes that are bothering you. For example, you should let us know if you have a mole that has begun to change size.
Examining Your Skin
After we have talked about your health, we will begin your examination. In general, we will start by looking at the skin on your head, scalp, and neck. After we have analyzed these areas, we will examine your arms, torso, and legs. During this process, we will look for growths or lesions that may indicate that you have skin cancer or other health problems.
To accomplish this goal, we may use a special device called a dermatoscope. This is a small magnifying glass that will allow us to visualize your skin in greater detail. As we use this device to look at your skin, you should feel free to ask us questions about this process.
Completing Your Appointment
It will usually take us about 10 minutes to examine your skin. If you have a family history of skin problems, your appointment may last for a longer period. In addition, your screening may take more time to complete if you have suspicious moles or other skin issues.
Why Should I Receive Regular Screenings?
Receiving regular screenings is an important way to increase your chance of diagnosing skin cancer. If you receive prompt treatment for this illness, you may be able to quickly address this health problem. For example, melanoma is a type of cancer that can be diagnosed during a skin examination. If you begin early treatment for this medical issue, you may be able to cure your cancer by getting a quick, outpatient procedure.
If your cancer spreads to your lymph nodes, you might have to receive chemotherapy and other uncomfortable treatments. Similarly, basal cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that can become larger over time. If you have a small basal cell carcinoma on your nose, you might be able to easily remove this item. If you remove a carcinoma that has become larger, you might have to receive a reconstructive procedure.
How Often Should I Receive Screenings?
The frequency of your skin cancer screenings will depend on your use of tanning beds, the number of sunburns that you have experienced during your lifetime, your family history of skin cancer, and other risk factors. After we have completed your initial baseline screening, we will tell you when you should schedule your next appointment.
If you have been diagnosed with skin cancer within the last five years, we will advise you to get at least two examinations every year. If you were diagnosed with melanoma within the last three months, we will probably suggest receiving an examination every three months.
What Will Happen if I Have a Suspicious Mole or Blemish?
If we find a suspicious mole or other problem during your appointment, we may decide to monitor this condition for a couple of months. Alternatively, we may take a biopsy of your tissues and send this material to a laboratory for further analysis.
We will usually receive the results of your biopsy after one to two weeks have passed. If you have skin cancer, we will help you complete the next step of your treatment. For example, we may instruct you to return to our office so that we can remove your lesion.
Schedule a Screening
Receiving frequent skin cancer screenings is a quick and easy way to look for moles and other blemishes that could develop into skin cancer. When you receive regular screenings from a trained dermatologist, you will be more likely to receive prompt treatment for suspicious moles and other skin issues. To schedule an initial skin examination, you should contact us at Premier Dermatology and Mohs Surgery of Atlanta in Alpharetta, GA.