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Skin Exams

"The earlier you find a skin cancer, the easier it is to treat successfully. Both skin self-examinations and professional skin exams are useful in early detection of skin cancers, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer." 

A dermatological skin exam involves a complete assessment of the patient's entire skin surface, hair and nails. During an examination any skin conditions found will be discussed with the patient to determine the proper treatment. Follow-up visits may be required in order to carry out the treatment plan or monitor the patient's status if multiple procedures or medications are required.

At Abrams Dermatology we stress the importance of conducting annual skin exams and like to teach our patients how to conduct initial self-exams at home. Please refer to the diagrams below for instructions on performing a self-exam.

A skin exam is done if you have:

  • Suspicious moles or skin lesions.
  • Symptoms of early skin cancer.
  • A history of previous skin cancer.
  • 50 or more moles.
  • Atypical moles (dysplastic nevi).
  • A family history of skin cancer.

Skin ExamSelf Skin Exam

Self-Examination for Melanoma

Other signs of melanoma in a mole include changes in:

  • Elevation, such as thickening or raising of a previously flat mole.
  • Surface, such as scaling, erosion, oozing, bleeding, or crusting.
  • Surrounding skin, such as redness, swelling, or small new patches of color around a larger lesion (satellite pigmentations).
  • Sensation, such as itching, tingling, or burning.
  • Consistency, such as softening or small pieces that break off easily (friability).

Other signs of skin cancer:

  • A firm, transparent bump laced with tiny blood vessels in thin red lines (telangiectasias).
  • A reddish or irritated patch of skin.
  • A new, smooth skin bump (nodule) with a raised border and indented center.
  • A smooth, shiny, or pearly bump that may look like a mole or cyst.
  • A shiny area of tight-looking skin, especially on the face, that looks like a scar and has poorly defined edges.
  • An open sore that oozes, bleeds, or crusts and has not healed in 3 weeks.
  • A persistent red bump on sun-exposed skin.
  • A sore that does not heal or an area of thickened skin on the lower lip, especially if you smoke or use chewing tobacco, or your lips are exposed to the sun and wind.

Remember! Prompt surgical excision of an early melanoma offers an excellent chance for a cure. If you have any doubt about a mole, call us.

Abrams Dermatology
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