Skin cancer screening: 5 things your dermatologist wants you to know

At increased risk for skin cancer? You may need regular skin cancer screening exams. These screening exams help find skin cancer early, when the chances of successful treatment are greatest. Here, Anisha Patel, M.D., shares fives things she wants you to know before your skin screening exam.  You’ll be wearing a gown during the skin screening Skin cancer can occur anywhere on your body, even places that don’t get sun exposure. During the screening, your dermatologist will conduct a head-to-toe examination, which will include your scalp, the bottom of your feet and even your genital areas. “A patient’s comfort is very important to us, but we think it’s better to endure a few moments of discomfort than to overlook a suspicious spot. It may just save your life,” Patel says. Avoid wearing makeup and nail polish to your skin screening Come to your skin screening without wearing makeup or nail polish. Because they cover up areas of your skin where cancer can occur, it’s best to avoid these products the day of your exam to ensure your dermatologist can do a thorough screening. “It’s fine to apply products after the screening, but plan to come to see me with clean, bare skin,” Patel says. A machine isn’t involved in a skin screening When walking into the examination room, some patients expect to see a machine, such as those for an MRI or CT scan, to conduct the screening. But that’s not the case. The entire screening is done with your dermatologist’s eyes or with the help of a lighted magnifying glass. Don’t focus on cosmetic concerns MD Anderson specializes in...