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The purpose of screening is early diagnosis and treatment. Screening tests are administered to people without current symptoms, but who may be at high risk for certain diseases or conditions

Screening Guidelines

There are no specific guidelines available that recommend for or against regular skin screening. However, most organizations recommend monthly self skin exams. Look for any new moles, changes to current moles, or other unexplained changes in skin.

Screening Tests

Skin self-exam—A visual check of your skin from head to toe. Tips for performing a skin self-exam include:

  • Use a full-length mirror or hand-held mirror to check hard to spot places, such as between the buttocks or in the genital area.
  • Do the exam in a well-lit room.
  • Turn from front to back and left to right.
  • Note the size, shape, color, and texture of all skin blemishes and moles.
  • Check your fingernails, palms, and forearms.
  • Check your feet, toenails, soles, and between the toes.
  • Examine your scalp, separating the hair with a comb or a blow dryer.

If you notice any changes in your skin, contact your doctor right away.

Skin exam by your doctor—If you have any increased risk for developing melanoma, an annual skin examination by a dermatologist may be appropriate. Your eye doctor should also check the back of your eyes for possible melanomas as part of your routine examination.

References:

Melanoma. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115302/Melanoma. Updated August 26, 2016. Accessed October 17, 2016.

Skin exams. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/skincancer-melanoma/moreinformation/skincancerpreventionandearlydetection/skin-cancer-prevention-and-early-detection-skin-exams. Updated July 26, 2016. Accessed October 17, 2016.



Last reviewed March 2016 by Mohei Abouzied, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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