How to Prepare for a Meeting with Your Skin Cancer Doctor

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers, but it is also one of the most curable when detected early. Performing routine checks of your skin is the best way to notice skin cancer before it becomes especially dangerous. You should check yourself regularly, but making an appointment with a skin cancer doctor is a great way to get a more professional examination. If you’re not sure what to expect during your appointment, the following are what you should do to prepare.

Remove Makeup and Nail Polish

Don’t wear makeup to your appointment, and remove any nail polish. Makeup could cover any moles or abnormalities that your doctor needs to look at. Some skin cancers can form in your nail beds, so it’s important to make sure your doctor can see these without any trouble. If you have long hair, wear it pulled back so your neck and shoulders are visible. Your hair should also be clean in case your doctor needs to perform a scalp check.

Check Yourself First

Exams with a skin cancer doctor are often brief, so make sure you get the most out of your time by coming prepared. No one knows your skin better than you do, so perform a self-examination on a regular basis so you can monitor any changes to your skin. If you don’t know how to examine yourself, ask the doctor to show you how during your appointment. If you’ve noticed any recent changes or skin abnormalities, remember to tell your doctor.

Bring a List

Bring a list of your current medications, any allergies, and pre-existing conditions. Write down any questions you have ahead of time so you don’t forget anything important. Some skin cancer doctors recommend that you keep a skin diary. Whenever you check yourself, note changes to any moles in a notebook. Bring the notebook with you to your appointment to show your doctor. Most doctors also allow you to bring a family member or friend to your appointment. They can help remind you of anything you forgot to ask.

Follow Up

If any moles look suspicious, your doctor may need to perform a biopsy, or remove a layer of skin and then examine it under a microscope. They will process the sample and then follow up with you.

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