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Skin Cancer Screenings

Why do I need an annual skin cancer screening?

Skin cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in America, and it is preventable. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer by age 70. Melanoma accounts for just 1% of all cases of skin cancer but it is the deadliest. Many people are diagnosed with more than one skin cancer at the same time.

Annual screenings with your dermatologist are important because early detection improves outcomes and it is difficult for you to check your entire body including your scalp, neck and back.  When caught early, skin cancer is highly treatable. Early detection can save your life.

An annual skin cancer screening is visual inspection of your skin performed by your dermatologist with the aid of a special device called a dermatoscope.  An annual screening is an important element of preventative healthcare.

The ABCDEs of moles and suspicious growths are used to detect warning signs that signal the development of potentially malignant changes. Warning signs include:

  • A stands for asymmetry. When one half of a spot is unlike the other half.
  • B stands for borders. Borders that are irregular, scalloped or poorly defined.
  • C stands for color. Benign moles are usually uniform in color. When a spot has more than one color it may be concerning. These colors include tan, brown, black, white, red and blue.
  • D stands for diameter. An enlarging spot can be a reason for concern. Historically, melanomas were larger than 6 mm, or the size of a pencil eraser. Today, with good screenings, many melanomas are caught when they are smaller.
  • E stands for evolving. That means the spot is changing in size, color or shape.

During a skin cancer screening, Dr. Shagalov will conduct a thorough physical examination of your entire body, looking for any signs of abnormal or suspicious moles, lesions, or other growths. Dr. Shagalov will use a dermatoscope, a handheld magnifier and light device, to assist in the assessment of all skin lesions. With a dermatoscope, various features of skin lesions can be evaluated that are not visible to the naked eye, such as blood vessels, colors and patterns.  During your visit, Dr Shagalov or a team member may also take photos or make notes about the size and shape of any suspicious spots or moles, to compare with past and future screenings.

Skin cancer screenings are recommended for everyone over the age of 18, but especially for those with a family history of skin cancer, fair skin or light hair color, excessive sun exposure or tanning bed use, and other high-risk factors.

Regular skin cancer screenings can be crucial in detecting, diagnosing, and treating any potential skin cancers before they become more serious. Early detection is key to successful treatment and better outcomes with skin cancer. Skin cancer screenings also provide peace of mind by helping you stay proactive about your health.

Contact Miami skin cancer surgeon Dr. Shagalov to schedule your annual skin cancer screening. Please come prepared to get undressed and without make up. Please also come prepared with any concerns about what you found during your self-exam, including the location of any suspicious lesions. Any growth that causes pain or bleeding and won’t heal is cause for concern. Dr. Shagalov is a board-certified dermatologist and a dual fellowship trained Mohs Surgeon and cosmetic dermatologist. Biscayne Dermatology is located in Midtown Miami on the border of Edgewater and Wynwood a few blocks from the Design District, Miami Beach, and Downtown Miami.

At a Glance

Dr. Devorah Shagalov

  • Double Board-Certified Dermatologist
  • Fellowship-Trained Mohs Micrographic Surgeon
  • Recipient of numerous dermatology awards
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