How Often Should I Have my Skin and Moles Checked?
Skin cancer is unique in the sense that you have the power to detect it in its earliest stage – no x-rays or blood tests required. By simply looking at your skin and scheduling regular wellness appointments, you can protect yourself against the most common form of cancer in America.
How Often Should I Have my Skin Examined?
Just like an annual physical, you should have your skin checked for abnormalities once a year. If you have a family history of skin cancer or have been previously diagnosed with the disease, you may want to go two to four times a year.
An annual exam isn’t the only thing you can do to protect yourself against skin cancer. Once a month, you should look at your own moles and freckles, and make mental notes about what they look like. When checking yourself, keep the “skin ABCDEs” in mind:
- Asymmetry: Most healthy moles are symmetrical, meaning you could draw a line down the center and both halves would look the same.
- Border: Unhealthy moles tend to have an uneven or scalloped border.
- Color: Melanomas tend to be several shades of brown. Melanoma can also present as a red, white, blue, or black mole in more advanced stages.
- Diameter: Healthy moles are typically no bigger than the size of a pencil eraser.
- Evolving: Any changes in the shape, color, size, or texture of a mole should be mentioned to your doctor during your annual exam.
What to Expect During a Skin Exam?
Skin exams are non-invasive and require no prep work, making it easy to pop in for a quick exam whenever’s convenient for you.
Before the exam begins, your doctor will likely ask you to remove just your shirt and pants. They’ll then begin closely examining your skin for any abnormalities or signs of skin cancer. Typically, the process takes around 15 minutes to complete.
Find out more about the skincare services offered at our Urgent Care Centers by calling our Bloomfield location or our Plymouth location. We serve patients from Plymouth MI, Bloomfield Hills MI, Livonia MI, Novi MI, Worden MI, Canton MI, Southfield MI, Troy MI, and Farmington Hills MI.