Skip to main content

What Does a Skin Cancer Screening Involve?

What Does a Skin Cancer Screening Involve?

More than five million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States, making it our most common type of cancer. Unlike most cancers, you can prevent the majority of skin cancer cases. Also, when caught early enough, almost all skin cancers are curable.

Whether skin cancer runs in your family or not, you’re still at risk. Even if you haven’t spent much time in the sun, you could develop skin cancer. Some skin cancers, particularly in darker-skinned individuals, develop on areas of the body that aren’t often or ever exposed to the sun, including the soles of the feet.

Our expert dermatologists at Specialists in Dermatology, diagnose and treat all types of skin cancer in our offices in The Woodlands, Texas, and Houston, Texas. In addition, they highly recommend monthly self-exams and yearly skin-cancer screenings to catch troubling lesions in their earliest and most treatable stages. 

If you haven’t ever had a skin cancer screening before, it’s a simple procedure. Here’s what to expect.

We look at you from top to toe

In contrast to other forms of cancer screening, no high-tech machines or blood work are involved in a skin cancer screening. Instead, you change into an examination gown in one of our private spaces.

In the exam room, either one of our dermatologists or a nurse examines your skin visually. If you wish, you can have another nurse present as well. 

We examine and inspect all of your skin, including areas that may be hard for you to see during your self-exams. We inspect between your toes, behind your ears, and in the folds of your skin.

We look for new moles or lesions as well as for any cuts that haven’t healed. We also take a look at your moles to see if they’ve changed in shape, color, or size. We may also note the measurements of some of your larger moles so that we can determine if they change over the years. 

We locate and remove suspicious lesions

In most cases, we don’t find anything abnormal on your skin and you’re free to go for the next year. However, if we discover an unusual new lesion, or if a mole has any of the changes that could be associated with skin cancer, we remove a portion of it for analysis. 

We send the biopsied lesion to a laboratory. A pathologist then checks the excised tissue under a microscope to see if cancer cells are present. If skin cancer runs in your family or if the lesion is suspicious, we may recommend using two different pathologists before we give you the all-clear. 

If the pathologist does identify cancer cells, we recommend removing the lesion immediately. Our dermatologists are trained in a specialized form of skin cancer removal called Mohs surgery. We may also advise an X-ray based form of nonsurgical treatment called electronic brachytherapy.

Mohs surgery cures newly diagnosed skin cancers in 99% of cases. It also cures 94% of skin cancers that have been treated previously by other methods. 

We help you stay safe

Whether we remove a skin cancer or pronounce you skin cancer-free, we want you to be safe for the rest of the year, too. We help you adopt skin-healthy habits, such as avoiding the sun’s rays during their peak between 10am-4pm. We may also recommend medical-grade skincare products and sunscreens that block UVA and UVB rays but allow your skin to breathe.

skin cancer screening is a simple procedure that could save your life. Book one today by calling our office or using our convenient online contact form

You Might Also Enjoy...

Does Melanoma Always Appear as an Atypical Mole?

You know your ABCDEs by heart, and you use them each month when you examine your skin. If you notice changes in a mole, you go straight to your dermatologist for a skin cancer evaluation. But does deadly melanoma always appear as a mole?

Why You Shouldn't Remove a Wart on Your Own

You hate the way your wart looks and want to get rid of it as soon as possible. You’re tempted to pick it, squeeze it, cut it, or burn it off yourself. Don’t. The end result could be an infection and even more warts. Everywhere.
4 Chronic Conditions That Cause Dry, Flaky Skin

4 Chronic Conditions That Cause Dry, Flaky Skin

When you have dry skin, it may not just be because of the winter winds or indoor heating. You may have an underlying, chronic condition that causes your skin to be dry, flaky, and uncomfortable, no matter the season or the weather.

How to Reduce Your Fine Lines Without Surgery

You aren’t ready for — and may never want — plastic surgery. You do want to look energized, refreshed, and youthful, which means getting rid of fine lines. Can you do that without surgery? Yes with dermal fillers, neurotoxins, and chemical peels.
5 Common Rosacea Triggers

5 Common Rosacea Triggers

Though you can’t cure rosacea, you can tame it. By learning your triggers and avoiding them whenever possible, you keep embarrassing blushes, flushes, and pustules to a minimum. Start with the most common, then find your personal triggers, too.

Using the ABCDE Method to Examine Your Moles

Whether you think of your moles as beauty marks or not, it pays to keep an eye on them. Normal moles are fairly stable throughout your life. Abnormal moles, which could be cancerous, change. Use your ABCDEs to keep track.