Full body skin exam
Even without a personal history of skin cancer, for patients that have seen a fair amount of sun exposure during their lifetime, it is recommend you get a full body skin exam. This is important because most skin cancers start out small, and the earlier you catch it, the better. Especially in sunny Texas, the prevalence of skin cancer is higher than other parts of the country.
During your exam, Dr Song will kindly ask you change into a gown. She will use a special tool called dermatoscope to look more closely at the spots on the skin using polarized light. If she finds a spot that needs further investigation, she might perform a skin biopsy.
A skin biopsy is done with a small numbing shot. After that, the procedure is very comfortable. The biopsy specimen is then sent to a dermatopathology lab. The tissue is processed and examined by a board-certified dermatopathologist. Usually within a day or two, the biopsy result comes back, and the treatment plan will vary depending on the results. The three most common skin cancers are basal cell, squamous cell, and melanoma (see below for histological examples). It is not uncommon to detect skin cancer in younger patients.
In most instances- skin cancer is treated in the office with a local excision. This is also performed with a numbing shot, which saves the patient from undergoing sedation or general anesthesia.