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What is skin screening?

Skin screening, mole check, skin cancer check or skin check are the terms used whereby a doctor trained in dermatology examines your skin with a dermatoscope within a dedicated skin clinic looking for any concerning lesions or moles. They will review your whole body, and it is an opportunity for you to also point out any lesions you are particularly concerned about.

Do I need a skin screen?

A skin screen/check is highly recommended for people who have had previous skin cancers, significant amount of sun exposure or family members affected by skin cancer. Skin checks can also offer peace of mind. You can perform your own skin check.

How do you perform a skin check?

A self skin check takes around 10 minutes. You will need:

– A bright source of light
– A full-length mirror
– A hand mirror
– A camera phone
– A way of recording your findings

Start from the top and work down. Check through your hair by parting it with a comb (if needed). Check your face carefully not forgetting behind your ears. Look at your torso and limbs front and back. Ask a friend to check your back if you cannot.

Ensure you have good lighting and ideally someone to help. Check moles for any change in size, shape, colour or new moles that have appeared.

Use your phone to photograph the findings. Repeat photographs 1-2 months later at the same time of day in the same light and position as the first photos.  Any objective change ensure you seek a doctor’s opinion.

What do you need to look for?

A skin lesion that increases in size and appears translucent, tan brown, black, or multicoloured.

A mole, birthmark or any skin spot that changes in size, colour, thickness, becomes irregular in shape.

A lesion that scabs, bleeds but never fully. A lesion that grows quickly and is tender when knocked.

It is difficult to know if a skin lesion is a benign (harmless) mole or wart or something more concerning. Sometimes your doctor finds it hard too. Dr Nelson will be able to examine your entire skin with a dermatoscope. Dermatoscopes are specialist lenses that allow for closer, deeper assessment of skin lesions offering higher diagnostic accuracy. Dr Nelson will counsel you if a lesion warrants removal or just further monitoring.

More useful information on skin checks can be found at https://www.melanomauk.org.uk/skin-self-examination.

BOOK A CONSULTATION

For Plymouth please call Shannon on 01752 437026 | For The Duchy, Truro please call Alex on 01872226101 or email: enquiries@tobynelsondermatology.com. A referral from your GP is preferred.