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What It’s Like to Get Screened for Skin Cancer

The American Academy of Dermatology Association indicates that 20% of all Americans develop skin cancer in their lifetime. That is a staggering number considering that one in five people you know is likely to get skin cancer. While this statistic is frightening, there are ways to protect yourself and your family.

At Jordan Valley Dermatology Center in South Jordan, Utah, Dr. Forsha and his team of skin specialists recommend regular skin cancer screenings and offer in-office treatment. The earlier skin cancer is discovered, the quicker you can begin treatment and stop it from spreading.

Here’s what it’s like to get screened for skin cancer with Dr. Forsha and his highly skilled crew of experts.

How we screen for skin cancer

Some skin cancers begin with a skin-colored bump, which means it could go unnoticed for a long time. That’s why it’s essential to have regular screenings with a professional.

A skin cancer screening begins with a conversation.

Risk factors

First, we’ll ask you about your health and any previous illnesses. Dr. Forsha will also determine your risk factors. According to the CDC, risk factors include:

The examination

The physical examination follows the preliminary talk. During your skin cancer screening, a dermatology specialist examines your entire body. The appointment begins with you removing all of your clothing.

The doctor carefully inspects every area of your skin. Dr. Forsha looks at your scalp by parting your hair, and he carefully checks your ears. If you wear glasses, you may need to remove them so the doctor can look at your eyes and eyelids.

Next, he’ll check the inside of your mouth, looking for any indication of skin cancer on your lips or gums. Dr. Forsha also inspects your neck, upper body, hands, and arms. He’ll also check any skin folds, external genitalia, and the gluteal region. 

Finally, he’ll examine your legs, feet, spaces between your toes, and even the soles of your feet. The doctor doesn’t need or use any special instruments for the exam, just a bright light, and a trained eye. The screening takes about 15 to 20 minutes and is entirely painless.

What happens if you find something suspicious?

If abnormal skin changes are found, it may be necessary to take a tissue sample to clarify the diagnosis. If a mole requires further investigation, the doctor will give you a numbing injection near the site and then scrape off as much of the mole as possible to send away for testing. The only way a dermatologist diagnoses skin cancer is after a biopsy of the suspicious mole.

Protect your skin

Screening doesn’t automatically protect you against skin cancer. It only shows the current status. Rapidly growing tumors can also develop between two screening examinations, for example.

Early detection and prevention are crucial. Even if you don’t take part in regular skin cancer screenings, it’s generally advisable to use suitable sun protection and check your skin for changes yourself. 

Anyone who discovers abnormalities should always have them checked by a doctor as soon as possible. Let us help you keep your skin healthy. Call Jordan Valley Dermatology today for a consultation. You can reach us at 801-335-6824, or schedule a virtual visit to speak with a doctor. 

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