How to Prepare for a Skin Cancer Screening

Are you prepared for your skin cancer screening at our Florida office? Screenings are quick appointments that involve examination of your skin, head to toe. Yes, this includes scalp, feet, nails, etc. In general, it is recommended that patients be screened annually, although for those with a history of skin cancer or those with certain chronic skin conditions, more frequent visits may be recommended.

At these visits, suspicious areas will be notated and potentially biopsied or treated. 

Patients often ask what they can do to prepare for their skin exam. Firstly, take note of any new growths or changing growths. If there is an area that has been particularly tender, itchy, or bleeds easily, it should also be noted. Do not hesitate to point out concerns along the way.

Next, skip the cosmetics. The most common mistake patients make is to wear a full face of makeup to their appointment. From our viewpoint, this is also one of the most frustrating and dangerous mistakes patients can make.  The whole purpose of concealer and foundation is to hide discoloration—one the first signs of skin cancer! The face is one of the most common areas for skin cancer to arise, therefore a thorough and complete examination is imperative. This means no make-up, including lipstick.

In addition to makeup, please skip applying hairspray and root touch-up powder/spray. A complete skin check includes a thorough evaluation of your scalp. If your hair is set with spray, we cannot go through your hair to examine your scalp. Covering up your roots with touch-up products will make it almost impossible to examine the underlying skin.

We also recommend removing nail polish prior to your exam. Believe it or not, skin cancers and moles can grow under nails. Patients also frequently ask about nail fungus, but with polish in place, we cannot evaluate for any of these conditions.

Lastly, skip the self-tanner at least two weeks prior to your appointment. Self-tanning products, including spray tans, change what many skin lesions look like. It also can camouflage suspicious lesions, causing us to skip right over a potentially harmful spot.

Following these recommendations will ensure you receive the most thorough exam possible. Do not put off your screening any longer. Call us today to schedule your appointment. Contact Skin Wellness Physicians by calling (239) 732-0044 or submit a contact form to request a consultation.

Sydney Tateo

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