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Skin Exams

Vigilant monitoring for early detection is a key component in maintaining health. A full skin exam is recommended once a year or more frequently depending on a person's previous history or family history.  The purpose of a skin check is to examine the entire surface of the skin in order to make sure that there are no suspicious moles or other lesions concerning for cancer or pre-cancer.  Self-skin exams are also taught and recommended. 

  • Scalp

  • Entire face, including mouth, nostrils, eyeball

  • Neck

  • Chest

  • Abdomen

  • Armpits

  • Back

  • Arms, forearms, hands, palms, fingernails, web spaces between fingers

  • Thighs, legs, feet, soles, toenails, web spaces between toes

  • Buttocks and groin area


​Depending on the lesion, it may be followed by serial exams or biopsied.  A biopsy involves injecting numbing medicine such as lidocaine, and removing a sample of the skin in question to examine the cells under a microscopic examination by a dermatopathologist.

Used with permission from the American Academy of Dermatology, 2014

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