Clinical Dermatology

Proactive Skin Exams

A routine skin check is one of the easiest and most effective early skin cancer detection methods. The familiar adage of ‘a stitch in time saving nine’ certainly applies to skin cancer and pre-cancer. A routine skin examination provides the opportunity to discuss any skin issues of concern with an experienced dermatology professional. Learn more about what to expect during your skin exam.

Proactive Skin Exams

Proactive skin examinations can be lifesavers. In this context, ‘proactive’ refers to the concept of having a skin evaluation even though nothing appears to be wrong. Certain people, particularly those who are of Irish or Celtic ancestry, are appropriate candidates for proactive screening skin exams. Also, for those who have many moles, extensive cumulative lifelong sun exposure, or a personal or strong family history of skin cancer and associated problems, proactive skin checks make good sense.

When caught early, even melanoma skin cancer has a 98% cure rate. - American Academy of Dermatology

As people progress through life, the incidence of skin problems increase. For Caucasians in particular, these problems may include the development of skin cancer. Proactive skin exams provide the opportunity to detect skin cancer earlier when it is more readily treatable and typically curable. These visits also provide an opportunity to have a complete skin exam during which other new or old skin changes, growths, rashes, or other concerns can be addressed. Many changes occur in skin over time and some of these changes may be both undesirable and amenable to in-office dermatology treatment.

In preparation for a complete skin exam, patients will be provided a cloth gown with an opening in the back. Outer garments are removed while undergarments remain on. The gown is then slipped on and tied in the back. Exams are performed in a reclined position on a comfortable computerized exam chair/table. A bright mobile light and special magnifier enable careful detailed focus on the finer points of skin concerns and cursory findings. With this examination room setup, virtually the whole skin surface can be carefully examined while preserving patient comfort and dignity.

The recommended frequency of proactive or routine skin exams is customized based on the unique clinical characteristics of each patient.