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What is the doctor looking for during a skin cancer full body exam?

ANSWER

  • During a skin cancer screening, your doctor is checking for the “ABCDEs” of each mole, which are all possible signs of skin cancer: Asymmetry: Difference in shape on each side
  • Border irregularity: Ragged or blurred edges
  • Color: Different shades of tan, brown, or black
  • Diameter: Larger than 1/4 inch Evolving: Changes over time Your doctor will also check for actinic keratosis, skin changes caused by sun damage that, without treatment, can turn into cancer.

SOURCES:

Bruce Robinson, MD, spokesperson, American Academy of Dermatology.

Skin Cancer Foundation: “Make the Most of Your Visit to the Dermatologist,” “Early Detection and Self Exams.”

American Academy of Dermatology: “What to expect at a SPOTme skin cancer screening.”

CDC: “Skin Cancer: What Screening Tests Are There?”

National Cancer Institute: “Skin Cancer Screening (PDQ).”

Journal of the American Medical Association : “Screening for Skin Cancer: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement.”

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force: “Screening for Skin Cancer in Adults.”

MD Anderson Cancer Center: “Skin Cancer Screening Exams.”

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: “Screening Guidelines.”

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on March 31, 2019

SOURCES:

Bruce Robinson, MD, spokesperson, American Academy of Dermatology.

Skin Cancer Foundation: “Make the Most of Your Visit to the Dermatologist,” “Early Detection and Self Exams.”

American Academy of Dermatology: “What to expect at a SPOTme skin cancer screening.”

CDC: “Skin Cancer: What Screening Tests Are There?”

National Cancer Institute: “Skin Cancer Screening (PDQ).”

Journal of the American Medical Association : “Screening for Skin Cancer: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement.”

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force: “Screening for Skin Cancer in Adults.”

MD Anderson Cancer Center: “Skin Cancer Screening Exams.”

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: “Screening Guidelines.”

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on March 31, 2019

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How can a doctor tell if a mole is cancerous?

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