The Total Body Exam for Early Detection of Skin Cancer

A total body exam is one of the most effective ways to detect skin cancer. Rates of skin cancer have increased every year over the last several decades, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Though often caused by overexposure to UV radiation from the sun or tanning beds, anyone of any age or skin type can develop skin cancer anywhere on the body covered with skin. This includes hard-to-see areas, such as the inside of the mouth and the bottoms of the feet. Additionally, the use of certain medications, such as hormones and antibiotics, may increase your risk for developing skin cancer. This is the most common type of cancer, though it is easily prevented with regular total body exam scheduling.


In all cases, early detection of skin abnormalities is key to an easier and more effective treatment. Adults should conduct monthly self-exams to look for changes to the skin, such as new or changing growths and moles. Importantly, everyone should receive an annual total body exam by a licensed dermatologist. Seeing a specialist, such as the dermatologists who practice at Zel Skin & Laser Specialists, is a great preventative measure. The total body exam takes only 10 to 20-minutes, and it can mean the difference between catching skin cancer early and letting it develop.


What to Expect from Your Annual Total Body Exam

At the beginning of the exam, you will be asked to provide your history of sun and tanning bed exposure, as well as your medication use and whether any close relatives have developed skin cancer. Be sure to mention any changes in moles or areas of your skin. Your dermatologist will check your body from head to toe, from your scalp to the bottoms of your feet. Prior to the total body exam, avoid wearing anything to your appointment that blocks access to your skin, such as nail polish, makeup, or a pulled-back hairstyle.

To more closely examine moles or suspicious areas, your doctor may use a lighted magnifying glass called a dermatoscope. Your doctor may also take photographs of moles for use as baseline comparisons for the future. If you feel uncomfortable having any part of your body examined, please let your doctor know.

Visiting the Doctor for a Total Body Exam

Skin cancer is a scary but typically treatable disease. However, as with all serious conditions, the best way to address skin cancer is to prevent it from developing. Conducting an at-home total body exam treatment is a great way to regularly check your skin, but visiting a licensed professional is the only way to ensure you don’t miss any suspicious growths. Similarly, if you find something new during an at-home check, you’ll want to have it looked at by a professional. The dermatologists at Zel Skin & Laser Specialists are well equipped to conduct the total body exam you need to receive further treatment or peace of mind.

Contact us to schedule an appointment or virtual visit today.

*Results may vary per patient. Services vary by location.