A skin cancer check is a comprehensive assessment and examination of a patient for any evidence of skin cancer.
A skin check will include a process similar to what is outlined below.
A verbal consultation focused on your personal and family history including any information relating to previous issues with skin cancers, mole excisions, level of sun exposure and frequency of sunburn. (So, its a good idea for the patient to think about these areas before they arrive for the skin check).
The patient is normally asked whether they have any specific concerns and if so to point out which moles they would like to be considered in more detail. (So it is a good idea for the patient to have done a self examination before they turn up for the skin cancer check which may bring attention to moles which have the A-Asymmetric, B-Border irregularity, C-Colour, D-Diameter, E-Evolution characteristics).
The patient will be asked to remove their clothing in privacy, but to keep their underwear on. A gown or a sheet will be provided to cover parts of the body not being examined.
The doctor will then use a methodical approach to looking at each area of the body with particular attention to areas mostly exposed to the sun and the specific moles (if any) that have been specifically requested to be examined.
The patient will be sitting upwards to consider their hands, arms and face. They will be lying face down so that their back and back of your legs can be considered. They will then be asked to turn over for their chest, abdomen and legs to be examined.
The doctor should ask the patient if they have moles of particular concern on their scalp and or on areas of your body covered up by their underwear. These areas are only examined with the patients verbal consent.
If a suspicious mole is encountered, the doctor will discuss with the patient the benefits of removing the mole for a biopsy. A visual skin cancer check will identify potential issues but the patient will not know for certain that they have a skin cancer unless they have the mole removed for examination under a microscope by a pathologist.
It may take a number of days before the results of the biopsy become available. In the event that the biopsy reveals a skin cancer your doctor will discuss with you the next steps and possible treatments.
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The blog is for information purposes only, always consult with your medical professional.
Your skin is your largest organ and has a long memory. Sun exposure and ultraviolet (UV) damage is cumulative throughout your life. Research shows that sun damage contributes to more than 90% of wrinkles, brown spots, premature skin ageing as well as precancerous and cancerous skin lesions.
It is very difficult to the untrained eye to identify melanomas and skin cancers because they can come in many different shapes and sizes.
As Associate Professor Rosemary Nixon from the Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc. says, "the earlier a skin cancer is identified and treated, the better the chance of avoiding surgery, or in the case of a serious melanoma or skin cancer, potential disfigurement or even death."