At Blue Ridge Dermatology, we believe in the importance of preventive measures and early detection. That is why we recommend yearly skin checks for all of our patients. During your yearly skin check, our skilled physicians will look for a number of conditions, including the presence of abnormal moles. The purpose of this exam is to detect malignant melanoma, which could be a threat to your health.
If you have a specific growth/lesion that needs to be evaluated sooner, we will be happy to schedule a “specific growth/lesion check” appointment as soon as possible. If you have a personal history of invasive melanoma, please keep all appointments as advised by your surgical oncologist. Additionally, if you have a personal history of melanoma or severely dysplastic moles or numerous atypical moles, we advise that you have a melanoma detection exam by a dermatologist at least annually.
What To Expect During an Abnormal Mole Exam
Each dermatologist has their own method for identifying and documenting moles. To ensure consistency in exams and to accurately follow lesions, your primary dermatologist will perform all of your melanoma screening exams. Below you will find pertinent exam information:
- Prior to the exam, you will be asked to remove all clothing except for under garments and will be given a gown to wear. Please wear the gown with the opening in the back.
- Remove all makeup from any concerning growths on your face that you would like examined.
- Please point out any black or changing moles (including moles on your scalp or feet or hidden by underclothing) to the medical assistant prior to the dermatologist entering the room.
- Please check your scalp at home when your hair is wet and moles are easier to see.
- If socks or shoes are left on, we will assume that you don’t need these areas checked.
Our dermatologists will then provide a thorough examination of your skin and identify any areas of concern. If necessary, a biopsy may be recommended. Your dermatologist will discuss further steps with you as well as answer any questions and address any concerns you may have.
At Home Abnormal Mole Exam
In many cases, you may identify an abnormal mole while performing an at home skin exam. We recommend you examine your entire skin at home on a monthly basis. Please contact our office in regards to a new concerning mole or any changing mole.
To complete an at home skin exam, follow the steps below.
- Using a mirror, examine your body front and back, right and left, and with your arms raised.
- Next, bend your elbows and look carefully at forearms, back of upper arms, and palms.
- Look at backs of legs and feet, spaces between toes, and the soles of your feet
- Examine back of neck and scalp with a hand mirror. Part hair to lift.
- Finally, check back and buttocks with a hand mirror.
Remember to contact our office with any questions or irregular findings. Because a mole may be normal at one visit and become abnormal several weeks or months later, a re-evaluation may be necessary.
Contact Blue Ridge Dermatology Today
If it is time to schedule your yearly skin check, or if you have an abnormal mole that needs evaluating, please contact our office to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist.