An annual skin exam is an important element of health maintenance, especially for people with a history of significant sun exposure. This exam involves discussion of any personal or family history of skin cancer, review of current and past illnesses, and information on the patient’s current medications. The patient will be given a gown to wear and asked to undress to their underclothing.
Any specific concerns from the patient will usually be addressed first, followed by a complete head-to-toe exam. Suspicious lesions may be examined under a lighted magnifying glass, or painlessly scraped for observation of the skin cells under a microscope. If there is uncertainty concerning a diagnosis, the dermatologist may choose to take a sample of the lesion to send to a laboratory for further investigation. Other lesions may be treated with a freezing spray or a variety of topical/oral medications.