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5 truths about full body skin examinations

Published April 12th, 2018

1. Dermatologists look EVERYWHERE.

Yes, everywhere.  From the top of the head down to in-between toes, including the groin area and buttocks.  Skin cancers and abnormal moles can come up where the sun doesn't shine, so it's important to have a thorough exam.  There's no need to feel shy or embarrassed.  Dermatologists are medical doctors who, in addition to completing four years of medical school, have had an additional four years of internship and residency training.  Our medical training and experience makes dermatologists the experts in skin conditions.

2. Skin exams should be done once a year.

Just like a yearly checkup at the internist, regular full skin examinations allow for earlier detection and treatment of skin cancer and abnormal moles.  People with a history of melanoma or multiple non-melanoma skin cancers may require more frequent exams, based on their dermatologist's recommendations.

3. Dermatologists are not concerned with hairy legs or non-pedicured toes.  Or non-matching undergarments.

Your doctor does not care if you haven't shaved all winter long!  Dermatologists are busy looking for suspicious spots when we conduct our exams.

4. Early detection saves lives.

Diagnosing and treating skin cancer such as melanoma in its earliest stages greatly improves prognosis.  In fact, for very early stage melanoma located at the site where it started, the 5 year survival is 99%.  When basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas are found early, they can be easily treated in the office.  

5. Kids can get full body skin examinations.

Having family members with melanoma, being fair skinned, having light eyes, and a history of sunburns all increase the risk of melanoma and other types of skin cancer.  Kids with many moles or with risk factors would benefit from skin exams.

Take care of yourself and your loved ones and schedule a full body skin exam! 

      

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