What Happens During A Professional Skin Check?

Written by Lela Lankerani, MD, Board Certified Dermatologist on February 2, 2016 4 Comments

professional skin check

It’s estimated that nearly 1-in-5 Americans will be affected by some form of skin cancer during their lifetime. In fact, more than one million people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year. While skin cancer can affect people of all different skin types and skin colors, the risk of development can be greater if your parent, sibling or child has had a melanoma.

Early diagnosis is the key. Typically skin cancer that is discovered and removed early is highly curable. As such, regular self-examination is a powerful tool which can alert you to changes in your skin. A change in a mole can indicate a serious problem. Your dermatologist should be seen if you notice that a mole becomes larger, changes color, is asymmetric, or develops an irregular border. Other warning signs include itching, crusting, pain, and bleeding.

While monthly self-examination is great, getting a yearly professional skin check is highly recommended. Trained dermatologists are more able to detect cancerous symptoms early. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions concerning yearly cancer screenings:

Who should get a professional screening?

Everyone should see their dermatologist for a yearly screening, no matter what skin type you have. Screenings are necessary for people of all ages; the myth that only older people need screening is unfounded.

What happens during the screening?

To prepare for the screening you should remove all your makeup and nail polish. Your dermatologist will inspect your skin from head-to-toe, using a microscope if it’s necessary to inspect individual lesions.

How long does the annual screening take?

While most skin cancer screenings take about 10 minutes, the exact time of your screening will depend on how many moles you have.

What happens after the screening? 

If your dermatologist spots any suspicious lesions or moles, your doctor may encourage you to undergo more diagnostic tests, like a skin biopsy, to determine if they are cancerous.

Is annual skin cancer screening covered by medical insurance? 

Most insurance carriers will cover annual skin cancer checks, paying all or part of the total cost. Please visit our insurance page to learn which plans we currently accept.


Lela Lankerani, MD

Lela Lankerani D.O. received her undergraduate degree in Biology at Washington University where she graduated cum laude. Dr. Lankerani has published articles in several scientific journals and has presented at national scholarly meetings including the American Academy of Dermatology and American Osteopathic Academy of Dermatology.


4 Responses to “What Happens During A Professional Skin Check?”

  1. Chandler says:

    Would an annual skin check be covered under most health insurances?

  2. Ridley says:

    It’s good to know about professional skin checks. I had no idea that literally everyone should get one of these each year. My family hasn’t seen a skin doctor in who knows how long, so I’ll try to remedy that.

  3. Max says:

    Skin cancer runs in my family so I have recently been thinking about getting my skin looked at to make sure that I don’t have skin cancer. I really appreciated how it talked about how the screenings take about 10 minutes. That is good to know that it won’t be a very long process So I will make sure to plan accordingly.

  4. Michael says:

    It is interesting that you recommend a yearly dermatology visit. I had never heard that before. Skin cancer runs in my family, so I’ll start doing that.

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