Are Yearly Skin Exams Necessary? Do You Need To See A Dermatologist?

  • Dermatology
  • dermatology - Skin Care
  • April 25, 2022

Everyone should see a dermatologist every year for an annual skin check. These examinations are crucial for detecting skin cancer.

The Reason Everyone Should See A Dermatologist

The reasons for seeing a dermatologist can vary significantly from one person to another. Some patients schedule the first dermatology appointment to treat a specific condition, like acne, eczema, or psoriasis. However, there is one reason everyone should see a dermatologist at least once per year: the annual skin examination.

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What is an annual skin check?

Getting an annual skin exam is a crucial part of skin cancer prevention. A dermatologist will check for any new or suspicious spots, moles, or lesions during the appointment. The dermatologist may biopsy the area if the doctor pinpoints any place as a cause for concern. This means that part or all of the growth is removed and sent to a lab for analysis.

Why is this important?

Skin cancer continues to be the most common preventable type of cancer. Many people don’t take skin cancer seriously enough. The earlier skin cancer is detected, the more treatable the disease is. In addition to getting an annual skin exam, people should wear sunscreen every day, avoid tanning, and seek shade outdoors.

Am I at risk?

Some lifestyle changes, such as wearing sunscreen, are considered controllable risk factors for skin cancer. Other factors are not controllable. People with a fairer complexion, have had radiation treatment, have a weakened immune system, or who have cancer in a family health history are at higher risk. Additionally, men are 2 times more likely than women to get basal cell skin cancer and 3 times more likely to get squamous cell cancers.

Do I need to go more often?

People at higher risk may see a dermatologist every 6 months for skin checks. Any time a mole or growth is new, changing, or growing, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist.

Preparing for your appointment

Before the appointment, make sure to write down any questions and note any areas of concern. Wear hair down so that the dermatologist can examine the scalp, an area that can be hard to check alone. Refrain from wearing makeup so that the doctor can easily get a good look.

What to do between appointments

Everyone should perform a self-check for new or changing moles every month. Look at oft-forgotten areas, such as the scalp, between fingers, and buttocks. If there is a spot that is different from the others, itching, bleeding, or changing, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist.

Schedule an appointment today

Early skin cancer detection gives a person the highest possible chances of effective treatment. If a year or more has passed since the last skin exam, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist.

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