What Happens During A Screening For Skin Cancer

Are you worried about being at risk for melanoma, and want to visit a dermatologist for a skin cancer screening? You'll likely want to learn more about what happens so that you can be prepared. 

Suspicious Moles Will Be Photographed And Scanned

Your dermatologist will want to keep track of any moles on your body that look peculiar. This could be due to them being an odd color compared to the rest of your moles, lacking a defined border, or being an irregular shape. Photos will be taken of these moles so that they can be tracked over time to see if they change or if they are consistent. 

It's possible that your dermatologist will use some special equipment to help get a closer look at the mole. It is actually possible to scan a mole to determine how deep it goes underneath the skin. A dermatologist will be looking for moles that go very deep. Deep moles are a cause for concern because they can be a sign of cancer. 

Irregular Moles Will Be Biopsied And Potentially Removed

Any moles that are a reason to be concerned will be biopsied to determine if they are cancerous or not. A biopsy can be done in a couple of ways, including by doing a punch or shave removal of a portion of the mole. If you do a punch removal for the biopsy, the dermatologist will need to put a stitch over the location of the mole to ensure it heals properly. However, you'll need to return to the dermatologist to have the stitch removed. The advantage of this technique is that it will reduce scarring.

A shave biopsy will shave a portion of the mole off your body and it does not require any stitches for the area to heal. However, a shave biopsy has a chance of leaving a scar on the skin. It is best for places that others will not see, such as on the bottom of your foot.

If the biopsy comes back and reports that the mole is cancerous, then the mole will need to be removed completely. This involves removing more healthy skin around the mole so that you know for sure all of the skin cancer has been removed. Be aware that it is possible that a dermatologist may still want to remove a mole that is reported as benign. Although it isn't currently cancerous, it may have a high possibility of developing into cancer because it meets many of the criteria.

Contact your dermatologist to learn more about skin cancer screening