Getting a skin check can seem like a daunting process, but often this fear is a result of not knowing what to expect, or what the potential outcome may be.
Firstly, to get the most of your skin check, it’s important to do an initial skin check at home. Skin cancers can develop all over your body including your intimate areas, so we also encourage you to make note of any spots of concern.
To help you know how to conduct your own self-skin examination, we encourage you to check out these blogs:
Now that you’ve made your own self check, it’s time to think about how you should get ready for your appointment.
Before your appointment
Before your appointment you will need to remove any makeup, nail polish, fake tan or anything cosmetic on your skin. This is essential because this will ensure that your skin is clean and is not concealing any spots that your specialist might miss. Also, if there is hair covering any of your worry areas, you may want to shave around the spot a week or so before your appointment, so any ingrown hairs or scabs have time to heal.
We would recommend maintaining a daily moisturiser routine in the weeks prior to your skin check, as dry skin can actually make your spots harder to examine.
Another thing to note, if you’ve had any laser treatments in the month leading up to your appointment, we suggest putting off your skin check for another four weeks, as this treatment can change the colour of your moles.
During the skin check
Depending on your skin history, your skin check could take 10-30 minutes.
This exam will usually start with an assessment of your skin cancer risk and a review of your general medical history including any medication you’re taking and your family history. Your specialist will ask you to point out any areas of concern and discuss your skin type.
Each doctor will have their exam process, but generally each part of your skin will be examined with a small magnifying device called a dermatoscope. The areas that are included in your full body skin check include face, chest, arms, back, legs, scalp, behind your ears and even between the toes and the soles of your feet. While genitals and breasts are not usually included in your routine skin check, be sure to let your doctor know if there are any additional areas you want them to check.
After your skin check
Your doctor will let you know if any further follow up is required, and when you should book your next skin check. The timeframe varies depending on your skin type and individual risk factors. If required, they will also provide some tips for how to protect your skin.
Our friendly team at reception will book any follow up appointments (if required) and process your payment. Please note that skin checks are not bulk billed, however you will be entitled to a Medicare rebate.
What happens if a lesion is found?
If your doctor finds a suspicious spot on your skin, they may either take images and request a review (to investigate if any changes have occurred over time), or may perform a biopsy. In this case, a sample would be sent to a pathology laboratory for further analysis. If a biopsy is taken, reception will organise an appointment for you to come back and discuss the results.
Though some cancers can take many months to develop, some aggressive cancers can develop over weeks. This is why it’s essential to monitor your skin at home, and not to put off an appointment if you notice a spot has changed. Remember that early detection gives you the best chance of ensuring that treatment is kept at a minimum.
We at Skin Repair Skin Cancer Clinic are committed to alleviating the stress that can accompany a skin check. If you’re due for a skin check, our team of trained professionals are ready to help! Call us on 4779 0099 or book via the button below.