A St. Louis skin cancer screen is essentially a visual exam of your skin by your physician. This is a non-invasive screen, as no blood work or other similar tests. However, should your doctor find a suspicious mole or spot, he or she may perform a more in-depth test such as a skin biopsy.
Anyone who is at risk for skin cancer due to genetics, family history or prior skin cancer occurrences should put this screening at a high priority. St. Louis skin cancer screening is also essential for anyone who may be experiencing changes in moles or skin issues that may indicate skin cancer.
Your physician will do a complete, head-to-toe examination of your skin. He or she will make note of any spots/moles that may need closer examination. Your St. Louis skin cancer screening should include scalp, mouth, hands, feet, trunk, extremities, eyes/eyelids, toes, toenails, and fingers.
An instrument called a dermascope that looks like a combined flashlight and magnifying glass may be used to look at spots/moles that require a closer look.
Should the doctor find a spot or mole that looks suspicious, it may be monitored over time for changes. It could also be biopsied at the time of your examination. This procedure entails the area being numbed and a small shaving or scraping taken. The sample is then sent to a lab for analysis. In some cases, a punch biopsy may be performed that uses a circular blade is used to remove deeper layers of skin.
A skin cancer screen will take approximately 20 minutes.
Most people usually only need a St. Louis skin cancer screening once a year; however, those in high risk groups may need them more often. It is important to discuss this with your doctor. It is advised that you do a monthly self-exam to make sure any changes to spots/moles are noted as early as possible.
There is no recovery time after a regular St. Louis skin cancer screening. If you do undergo a biopsy, there will be no recovery time other than a short healing time for any necessary incision, unless of course you are diagnosed with skin cancer and require further St. Louis skin cancer treatment.