What is a Skin Scan
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. However, if detected at an early stage and treated in a timely manner is highly curable. Skin scans check for changes in existing moles, birthmarks, sores or other marks as to their color size, shape, or texture.
There are many types of skin cancer: actinic keratosis, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and finally, melanoma, which is the deadliest.
Skin cancer can occur any place on your body. It can also occur frequently in unexpected or difficult areas to see, such as in between your toes or on your back. It is critical to have an initial visit with your skin doctor to establish a charted baseline, which you can then use for self-exams and for follow-up visits with your medical provider.
A skin cancer screening should be done by a medical professional. The process takes about 10 minutes. During this time, every part of your body from head to toe will be visually inspected. Some spots will be looked at with a bright light and a magnifying glass. If there is an area that looks questionable, a biopsy is taken, and the sample is sent to a lab for evaluation.
Ask your medical professional to provide you with a detailed copy of the screening chart. This will assist you during your self-exam so you can determine any changes that may have occurred.
Wear no makeup or nail polish. Hair should be loose.
Watch this video to see what happens during a skin cancer screening.
Source: Academy of Dermatology
This is just one example of a skin cancer screening. The processes vary, depending on your doctor’s office or screening center.
There is no substitute for yearly examinations from your dermatologist or physician. If you are in a high-risk category for skin cancer, you will be advised to have regular exams more frequently, as prescribed by your medical team or provider.
In addition, it is critical to give yourself a monthly self-exam and document any changes. Should you see any changes, consult your medical team immediately for further direction.