During a comprehensive skin exam, also called a “skin cancer screening” by some, Dr. Sadoff will examine all of your skin, from scalp to toes. She will be assessing your skin cancer risks, and identify any lesions suspicious for skin cancer or precursors to skin cancer. We examine areas that are difficult for patients to see themselves, such as over the back, identify and educate patients on features of lesions that deserve attention, and utilize dermoscopy where appropriate. Everyone benefits from a complete skin examination.
At your exam you will change into a gown. You may wear undergarments or any clothing to make you as comfortable as possible. Dr. Sadoff will look at your skin beginning with the scalp and extending to your toes. Some lesions will be examined with a dermatoscope (see below). Dr. Sadoff will discuss your skin type and risk factors for skin cancer, offer ways to protect your skin and minimize that risk, and also alert you to any specific spots that may deserve further attention.
The exam may last just a few minutes or much longer depending on your personal or family history of skin cancer, extent of sun damage, number of moles, and other factors.
Dr. Sadoff firmly believes that only a board certified dermatologist has the expertise to perform this exam, which should be performed both as a baseline exam and as a routine yearly exam for those with greater skin cancer risk.
Dermoscopy is the study of the appearance of skin lesions through a hand held instrument called a dermatoscope. Though it appears as a small magnifying lens, it is really alerting us to the presence of signs that are not visible to the naked eye that can further clarify whether a skin spot is entirely benign or suspicious for skin cancer. Many times this quick look can result in avoidance of a biopsy because the signs are reassuring. On the other hand, sometimes a spot will appear benign on examination with the naked eye, and dermoscopy will alert us to very early concerning signs and a diagnosis is made much sooner than if we did not use the dermatoscope. In sum, diagnostic accuracy is greatly improved, and your skin exam should include dermoscopy where appropriate.