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(703) 766-2220 | Fax: (571) 323-1486 1830 Town Center Drive | Suite 410 | Reston, VA 20190

What Happens During a Skin Cancer Check?

By Colleen Rock
December 31, 2019

The start of a new year is the ideal time to schedule your annual skin cancer screening.

If you’ve never undergone a full-body scan, you may have a number of questions about the process, including: How should I prepare for a skin cancer check? What happens during a skin cancer check? Will I need a mole biopsy?

Continue reading for the answers to these questions and what patients can expect from a skin cancer screening.

How to Prepare for a Skin Cancer Check?

Prior to undergoing a skin cancer check at your dermatologist’s office, it’s a good idea to do a self-exam at home.

In order to evaluate every inch of your face and body, you should undress and stand in front of a full-length mirror. You can also use a hand-held mirror to visualize areas that may not be readily accessible.

During your inspection, take note of any new or suspicious growths that itch, bleed, or have changed in appearance.

What Happens During a Skin Cancer Check?

If you’re wondering – What happens during a skin cancer check? – you’ll be pleased to learn that the process is very straightforward and usually takes just 10 minutes.

At the start of the screening, you will be asked to disrobe and put on an exam gown.

Your dermatologist will then begin a thorough visual assessment of your skin from head to toe, including your face, arms, legs, chest, back, scalp, between your toes, and the soles of your feet.

She will be looking for any growths that display asymmetry, irregular borders, uneven color, diameter greater than ¼ inch, and evolution in appearance.

What Is a Mole Biopsy?

In addition to asking – What happens during a skin cancer check? – patients often want to know if this exam can diagnose skin cancer.

While the visual assessment can detect potentially malignant growths, a mole biopsy must be performed to confirm the presence of cancerous cells.

During a biopsy, a sample of cells are scraped from the mole and sent to a pathology lab. There, they will be evaluated under a microscope to determine if the lesion is cancerous.

Schedule Your Annual Skin Cancer Check

If you would like to schedule an annual skin cancer check, please call our office today to make an appointment with board-certified dermatologist Dr. Syed Amiri.

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(703) 766-2220 | Fax: (571) 323-1486 1830 Town Center Drive | Suite 410 | Reston, VA 20190