Annual Skin Exams — The Importance of Having Them

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(Photo | Courtesy of Bend Dermatology)

Every year you make a list of the exams you need to schedule: your annual physical and bi-annual teeth cleaning. Be sure to add an annual full skin exam as part of that list. To help with scheduling and understanding the purpose of a full skin exam, Bend Dermatology answers your questions.

What is an annual full skin exam?

An annual full skin exam is an opportunity where a dermatology provider examines your skin, identifies concerns, looks at moles to evaluate changes and checks out any rashes. It is also a great time to discuss any medical or cosmetic treatments you are considering with your provider.

Your provider will check your skin from head to toe, usually explaining the things seen on your skin during the exam. This process usually takes about ten minutes and consists of checking every inch of your body, especially spots you may not be able to see yourself, like your back, scalp and behind your ears.

If you have any concerns or have noticed moles that changed in size or color, mention that to your dermatology provider so they can pay special attention to those areas.

Anyone at higher risk for skin cancer may want to discuss getting full skin exams more often than annually.

When should I schedule my skin exam?

Use the start of a new year or your birthday to keep up with your schedule for a full skin exam. Summertime can often be challenging to schedule appointments for yourself, but you can add it to your back-to-school checklist. What matters is ensuring you are doing one!

Can I skip an annual full skin exam?

Melanoma is a serious skin cancer that can occur in an area that is not easy for a patient to examine. According to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the most common place for men to develop melanoma is on the back, head or neck. For women, it is the legs and arms.

Early detection is key in skin cancer treatment. Many melanomas found in patients are discovered during an annual full skin exam. These may be lesions that patients are not aware of. Additionally, some easily curable, nuisance rashes patients just learn to deal with can be fixed up within days.

Where can I get my annual full skin exam?

Visit your local Oregon dermatologists to schedule your annual full skin exam. You can make an appointment at one of their six Bend Dermatology locations to get your skin exam scheduled or to speak with an expert about any skin concerns you may have. Remember to use sunscreen daily and reapply it every few hours, especially if you are spending the day in water.

With six locations in Oregon, Bend Dermatology Clinic has been caring for its community with medical dermatology, Mohs surgery and cosmetic dermatology services since 1980.

BendDerm.com • 541-382-5712

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