During the summer months, the Earth is tilted so that the northern hemisphere is experiencing much stronger sun exposure than in the wintertime. Here in South Florida, however, we get strong sun exposure all year long thanks to our closer proximity to the equator than most other states.
Even if a Floridian is an indoors person, they still must go outside and be exposed to those strong ultraviolet (UV) rays when getting the mail, taking their dog outside, talking to neighbors, and walking across large parking lots. It’s therefore all the more important for us to get our annual dermatologist skin exams.
If you always cover up and wear sunblock, that’s excellent – but even that does not completely block your chances of getting skin cancer. There is no such thing as SPF 100 (100% sun protection factor), so you are always exposed when outdoors during the daytime, or even indoors if you’re near a window.
Let’s talk about what you can expect during your annual dermatology exam, and how it will definitely benefit you.
What Happens in an Annual Dermatology Skin Exam?
The dermatologist is going to ask you about your own health history as well as your family history of health conditions, especially skin cancers. The doctor may ask what precautions you take in order to prevent sunburn. The physician will also ask if you have anything in particular that you’d like them to check out.
The physician will then check your skin all over your body. They will look for any moles, precancerous blemishes, and potentially cancerous lesions. The physician will ask you about whether you have any new moles; older moles are usually not as much of a concern. However, the doctor may recommend that one or more moles be removed so that they do not become cancerous.
If they see that you have any dry areas or acne areas, the doctor will likely give you a prescription – and perhaps even a free sample – of lotion or treatment to help that area become clear again. The doctor may ask you to come back in another three months for a follow-up checkup to ensure that it is working, or to provide a different treatment if it is not working.
What if My Dermatologist Discovers Skin Cancer?
If the dermatologist finds anything suspicious during your exam, they likely will take a small shave biopsy and send it to a lab for testing. Any lesions that are cancerous will require a follow-up appointment to remove the skin cancer.
Fortunately, great strides have been made in recent decades in diagnosing and treating skin cancer, so even malignant melanoma has a very high survival rate – close to 100% for people who are diagnosed early, before it metastasizes (spreads) to other organs in the body.
Experienced Dermatologist in South Florida
If you are in South Florida and are looking for a caring and skilled dermatology team, contact us today at Children’s Skin Center Pediatric and Adult Dermatology. It is never too late to start having regular skin exams.
Call our friendly staff at (305) 669-6555 or request an appointment online, and let us help you make sure that your skin stays healthy and beautiful.