The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that every patient seeing their dermatologist for the first time should have a complete skin exam. Those people with a history of skin cancers, pre-cancers or a strong family history of skin cancers should have an annual exam. Anyone with a changing mole, non-healing sore or a new growth also should have an exam.
A good skin cancer screening starts at the scalp, ends at the toes and covers all skin, hair and nails. Some dermatologists also include the mucous membranes of the mouth, rectum and vagina in their skin exams. All these areas can develop skin cancers. When properly draped for an exam, it will only take about five minutes. Good lighting and magnification often improve the quality of the exam.
At Piedmont Dermatology Center, Dr Gross will honor your requests for modesty. Please understand that any area that is not visualized by the doctor can not be assessed for cancer risk. If you choose not to have us perform a complete skin exam, we would urge you to have someone else thoroughly exam you for your own skin cancer protection.
Many times the reason a patient is referred to us is for a benign (not dangerous) lesion. During the complete skin exam, however, we discover many melanomas and other skin cancers that need immediate treatment. In addition, as a result of the complete skin exams, often we are able to detect and successfully treat skin conditions that many patients have suffered with for years and were not aware the condition could be cured, controlled or improved.
This information does not replace the advice of a physician nor does it imply a physican – patient relationship between the reader and Dr. Gross.