What does a skin cancer screening involve?
Also known in our clinic as a “full body skin exam,” a skin cancer screening involves removing your clothes and putting on a patient gown. (You may remove your undergarments if there are suspicious moles, lesions or other abnormalities in these areas you want the provider to check.) The provider will then examine your skin in a systematic manner to look for abnormal or suspicious lesions that could be dangerous. If a suspicious lesion is found and a biopsy is needed, it may be performed in the office that day. Your provider will best be able to evaluate you for skin cancer if you are not wearing any make-up at the time of the exam.
If a suspicious lesion is found, what happens next?
If a suspicious lesion is found, the provider will usually biopsy that spot. This involves numbing the skin and removing a sample to send to the pathologist to evaluate under a microscope. We do this in the office during your regularly scheduled visit. You may or may not have stitches depending on the type of biopsy done.
How often should I get a skin cancer screening?
It is a good idea for all people to have a full skin exam before the age of 40. At that time, your provider can determine how often you need to be checked. This varies depending on your history of sun exposure, personal and family history of skin cancers, and number and type of moles found. If you have ever been diagnosed with skin cancer, it is a good idea to have yearly skin exams as the likelihood of future skin cancer is high.
Does insurance cover all of the services you provide in your office?
No; however, insurance usually covers the evaluation of any spot or rash on the skin. If the lesion is not considered dangerous and does not need to be removed, insurance may not pay for this. Your provider will discuss this with you at your visit. Additionally, cosmetic treatments, such as laser removal of sun spots or unwanted blood vessels, are not covered by most insurance companies.