top of page

Skin Cancer Screening St. Louis

Dermatologist using dermatoscope to examine mole on man's back.

At Mid-County Dermatology, our St. Louis dermatologists perform skin cancer screenings regularly. Dr. Feigenbaum and Dr. Gibstine share some information below detailing what a skin cancer screening is and why they are important.

Did you know that skin cancer, including melanomas and keratinocyte carcinomas, is one of the most common types of cancer worldwide? The good news is that early detection of melanoma can significantly improve the chances of successful treatment and cure. That's where skin cancer screening, which plays a vital role in identifying potential signs of funky moles, melanoma, and keratinocyte carcinomas (squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma) before they progress to advanced stages, comes in. This ensures timely intervention and better outcomes for patients.

Skin cancer screening involves a thorough examination of your skin by one of our dermatologists at Mid-County Dermatology. They will look for any suspicious moles, growths, or changes in your skin's appearance, including melanomas. By detecting common types of skin cancer like basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma through screenings, our St. Louis dermatology team can promptly implement appropriate treatment plans. These preventive services are crucial for early detection and intervention.

Regular screenings are essential for preventing the advancement of skin cancer, so if you're concerned about your risk or have noticed any changes in your skin's condition, it's crucial to call us or text us at 314-994-0200 to set up your skin cancer screening exam with our experienced dermatology team. Alternatively, you can schedule online. Remember, early action can make all the difference in preventing skin cancer.

Importance of Regular Skin Cancer Screenings

Regular screenings for skin cancer, including melanoma incidence and squamous cell/basal cell carcinoma, are vital in ensuring early detection and increasing the chances of successful treatment. By undergoing these screenings, individuals can take proactive measures to protect their health and well-being, especially against lentiginous melanoma. Prevention is key.

Early Detection for Higher Survival Rates

Regular screenings for skin cancer offer numerous benefits to patients. Early detection of keratinocyte carcinoma and melanoma through these preventive services can greatly improve outcomes. Identifying skin cancer at an early stage increases treatment options, leading to better chances of successful intervention and recovery. Early detection also allows for more conservative treatment approaches, reducing the risk of complications and improving overall quality of life.

Regular screenings play a crucial role in preventing advanced stages of skin cancer, including keratinocyte carcinoma and melanoma mortality, by detecting abnormalities before they progress. This proactive approach enables clinicians to identify potential symptoms even in asymptomatic patients, who may not be aware of any signs or changes on their skin. Through routine screening programs, individuals can receive timely medical attention and appropriate care.

One significant benefit of early detection is the avoidance of extensive surgeries or aggressive treatments that may be required if keratinocyte carcinoma or melanoma mortality is diagnosed at a later stage. Early detection allows for less invasive procedures such as excisional biopsies or Mohs surgery, which remove the cancerous cells while preserving healthy tissue. These preventive services often result in smaller scars and faster healing times compared to more extensive surgeries required in advanced cases. Clinicians play a crucial role in detecting and treating skin cancer early.

In addition to the physical benefits, regular screenings for keratinocyte carcinoma and melanoma can also provide financial advantages. Treating advanced stages of these skin cancers can be significantly costlier than managing them at an early stage. By identifying potential issues earlier on, healthcare costs can be minimized, benefiting both individuals and healthcare systems as a whole. This is why clinicians recommend regular screenings to prevent melanoma mortality and reduce the harm associated with keratinocyte carcinoma.

Healthcare research consistently supports the importance of early detection and preventive services for melanoma. Recommendations from clinicians emphasize the need for regular screenings to reduce mortality rates associated with this condition. The evidence shows that implementing widespread screening programs has been shown to lead to a decrease in deaths related to advanced stages of melanoma. These programs are crucial in identifying melanoma early, as it can be a deadly form of skin cancer with significant harm if left untreated.

By prioritizing regular screenings for melanoma, individuals can take control over their own health and well-being. Detecting skin cancer at its earliest stage provides vital opportunities for effective treatment and improved outcomes. It empowers persons to actively participate in their own healthcare, ensuring that potential harms are addressed promptly and efficiently. Clinicians often recommend regular screenings as per the US Preventive Services Task Force guidelines.

Identifying Precancerous Lesions

Regular screenings also help our St. Louis dermatologists identify precancerous lesions, such as actinic keratoses, which serve as warning signs for developing squamous cell carcinoma. By detecting these lesions during routine screenings, we can promptly intervene and prevent the progression toward malignancy.

Highly Treatable Condition

Regular screenings for skin cancer are crucial in detecting and treating keratinocyte carcinoma and melanoma early. Timely intervention by our dermatology team allows for swift and effective treatment options such as surgical removal, radiation therapy, chemotherapy creams, and targeted therapies. By initiating appropriate care promptly, we can minimize potential complications and reduce melanoma mortality rates for patients.

Promoting Cancer Prevention

Aside from aiding in the early detection and treatment of keratinocyte carcinoma and melanoma, regular skin cancer screenings play a crucial role in promoting overall prevention strategies. During these screenings, our dermatology team educates patients about proper sun protection techniques and provides guidance on self-examinations between appointments. By empowering individuals with knowledge about risk factors and preventive measures like wearing sunscreen regularly or avoiding excessive sun exposure during peak hours, they can actively participate in safeguarding their own health and reducing melanoma mortality. Dermatologists play a vital role in this process.

Available Screening Tests for Skin Cancer

Regular skin cancer screenings are crucial for early detection and treatment of melanoma. There are several screening tests available that can help identify potential skin cancers and ensure proper care of your health. These tests include visits to a dermatologist.

Visual Inspection

The first step in a skin cancer screening is a visual inspection by a clinician. During this examination, Mid-County Dermatologists carefully examine the health of the skin for any suspicious moles or growths. They look for irregularities in the shape, size, color, and texture of the lesions. This method allows them to identify potential signs of both melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers. Our dermatologists gather important information from this process to provide preventive services.


Dermoscopy, a technique used by clinicians during cancer screening exams, involves using a handheld device called a dermoscopy to magnify and evaluate suspicious areas on the skin, such as melanoma. This screening program enables our St. Louis dermatologists to visualize structures beneath the surface of the skin that may not be visible to the naked eye. By examining these features, they can determine if further investigation is necessary through biopsy.


During a skin screening, if a suspicious skin lesion is identified through visual inspection or dermoscopy, a biopsy may be recommended. A biopsy involves removing a small sample of tissue from the affected area for further analysis under a microscope. This procedure helps confirm whether the skin lesion is cancerous, such as melanoma, and what type it may be, such as basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma.

Total Body Photography

Total body photography is an innovative technique used by dermatologists for melanoma screening and cancer prevention. It involves capturing images of the entire body's surface at regular intervals to monitor changes in the skin over time. These photographs are references for future screenings, allowing dermatologists to accurately compare any new or changing lesions with previous images. This technique plays a crucial role in maintaining good health and early detection of melanoma.

By utilizing these different screening methods, clinicians can detect potential melanoma and other skin cancers at their earliest stages when treatment options are most effective. This is crucial for ensuring optimal care and maintaining overall health.

It's important to note that while these screening tests play an essential role in detecting melanoma and other skin cancers, they do not provide definitive diagnostic results on their own. If any abnormalities related to melanoma are found during screenings, further diagnostic tests, such as a skin biopsy or additional imaging, may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis. This is crucial for ensuring proper health care.

Melanoma screenings are particularly important for individuals with a higher risk of developing skin cancers, including those with fair skin colors, a history of excessive sun exposure or sunburns, and a family history of skin cancers. Regular screenings can help improve health and identify potential issues early on, following the recommendation of the US Preventive Services Task Force.

To ensure the accuracy and effectiveness of melanoma screening exams, it is recommended to consult with one of our qualified dermatologists who specializes in skin cancer detection. They have the expertise to interpret test results accurately and provide evidence-based advice on health based on individual circumstances.

What to Expect During a Skin Cancer Screening Exam

Regular skin cancer screenings are crucial for maintaining good health. These screenings are essential for the early detection of melanoma and other potential issues. Knowing what to expect during a skin cancer screening exam can help alleviate concerns and ensure you are prepared for the process. It is highly recommended to take advantage of these important health services.

During a skin cancer screening exam, your dermatologist will conduct a thorough examination from head to toe to assess your melanoma health. This includes examining areas that are often exposed to the sun, such as the scalp, face, neck, arms, legs, and back. The purpose of this comprehensive assessment is to identify any suspicious growths or abnormalities that may require further evaluation by melanoma health services based on evidence.

In addition to the visual skin examination, your doctor will also discuss your personal and family medical history related to skin cancer, including any instances of melanoma. This information helps them understand if you have any genetic predispositions or previous instances of skin cancer within your family. By understanding these factors, they can better assess your risk level and tailor their approach accordingly, ensuring a comprehensive health screening program based on evidence.

Another important aspect of the screening involves evaluating existing moles, birthmarks, or other spots on your body for skin lesions. Your dermatologist will carefully examine each spot individually using specialized tools and techniques for visual skin examination. They will look for signs such as asymmetry, irregular borders, changes in color or size, and any unusual textures to identify potential malignancies or precancerous conditions. If necessary, they may perform a skin biopsy to confirm a diagnosis of melanoma.

Based on the results of the skin screening, your dermatologist may suggest further exams or procedures, such as a skin biopsy, as part of the skin cancer screening program.

  1. Biopsy: If there is an area of concern identified during the skin cancer screening program's visual examination that requires further investigation, a biopsy may be recommended. This involves removing a small sample of tissue from the affected area for laboratory analysis. The skin screening program aims to prevent skin cancer by offering free skin cancer screenings.

  2. Dermoscopy is a non-invasive procedure recommended by evidence-based screening programs for melanoma. This procedure utilizes a handheld device called a dermoscopy to magnify and illuminate suspicious spots on the skin's surface.

  3. Melanoma recommendation: In some cases where there are numerous moles or a history of skin cancer, mole mapping may be suggested as evidence. This involves capturing detailed images of your skin to create a baseline for future comparisons.

It's important to note that not all abnormal findings during the melanoma screening exam indicate the presence of skin cancer. Sometimes, benign conditions like seborrheic keratosis or squamous cells can mimic malignant growths. Nevertheless, it is always better to err on the side of caution and have any concerning areas evaluated by a professional. This recommendation is supported by evidence.

By undergoing regular skin cancer screening exams, you are actively protecting your health from melanoma. Early detection significantly increases the chances of successful treatment and recovery. So don't hesitate to schedule an appointment with your dermatologist for a comprehensive skin exam today, following the recommendation of the USPSTF.

Key Risk Factors for Skin Cancer Detection

Excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds can significantly increase the risk of developing skin cancer, including melanoma. The harmful UV rays penetrate the epidermis, damaging the DNA in skin cells and increasing the chances of abnormal growth. Sunburns are particularly risky, especially during childhood when the skin is more vulnerable to damage. Prolonged and unprotected exposure to sunlight without proper precautions can have long-term consequences on our skin health, according to evidence from the USPSTF.

Fair complexion and sensitivity to sunlight are key risk factors for melanoma, a type of skin cancer. Individuals with fair skin tones have less melanin, which offers natural protection against UV radiation. As a result, they are more susceptible to sunburns and subsequent skin damage. People with fair complexions should be especially cautious about protecting their skin from excessive sun exposure by using sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, and seeking shade during peak hours. This evidence is supported by the USPSTF.

Having a personal or family history of melanoma or other skin cancers is strong evidence that an individual is at increased risk of developing skin cancer. The incidence of melanoma is higher among those with a family history of this type of cancer. People who have previously had melanoma or other skin cancers are at a higher risk for recurrence or new occurrences in different areas of their body.

Regularly monitoring suspicious spots on your body is crucial for early detection and prevention of melanoma. Any changes in size, shape, color, or texture should be examined by a healthcare professional as soon as possible. Suspicious spots may include moles that exhibit irregular borders, asymmetry, multiple colors within the mole itself, or larger diameters compared to other moles on your body.

Keratinocyte carcinoma, also known as non-melanoma skin cancer, is a common condition that arises from prolonged exposure to UV radiation. It manifests as rough scaly patches on sun-exposed areas like the face, neck, and hands. Individuals with a history of keratinocyte carcinoma are at an increased risk for developing skin cancer in the future, according to the USPSTF.

To reduce the risk factors associated with melanoma, it is essential to take preventive measures such as minimizing sun exposure during peak hours, wearing protective clothing and wide-brimmed hats, using sunscreen with a high SPF rating, and avoiding tanning beds altogether. Regular self-examinations and annual visits to dermatologists can aid in the early detection and timely treatment of any potential skin abnormalities. Following the recommendations of the USPSTF is crucial for prevention and early detection.

Preparations for a Skin Cancer Screening Test

Early detection of melanoma is crucial for successful treatment. Regular screenings, recommended by the USPSTF, can help identify any suspicious spots or changes in the skin that may indicate the presence of skin cancer. To ensure an effective and accurate screening test for melanoma, there are several important preparations that individuals should keep in mind.

Not wearing makeup, nail polish, or any other cosmetic products

Before going for a melanoma skin cancer screening test, avoiding wearing any makeup, nail polish, or other cosmetic products on the face or body is essential. These products can potentially interfere with the examination and make it difficult for healthcare providers to thoroughly assess the condition of your skin. By refraining from using these products prior to the screening recommended by the USPSTF, you allow for a clear and unobstructed view of your skin.

Removing all jewelry and accessories before the screening

To facilitate a comprehensive examination during a skin cancer screening test for melanoma, it is recommended to remove all jewelry and accessories beforehand. Rings, bracelets, necklaces, and even piercings can obscure certain areas of the skin or create shadows that might hinder accurate evaluation by the USPSTF. By taking off these items before the screening, you ensure that nothing obstructs the healthcare provider's ability to examine every part of your skin.

Informing our dermatology team about any concerning spots or changes in the skin

One vital step in preparing for a melanoma screening test is communicating with your dermatologist about any concerning spots or changes you have noticed on your skin. Whether it's an unusual mole or persistent redness that worries you, sharing this information will assist them in focusing their examination on specific areas of concern. By providing such details upfront, you enable them to conduct a more targeted assessment. This is particularly important as the USPSTF recommends regular screenings for melanoma.

Bringing a list of medications and previous skin cancer diagnoses if applicable

Another crucial aspect when preparing for a melanoma skin cancer screening test is compiling a list of all medications you are currently taking. Certain medications can affect the appearance of the skin, potentially leading to false-positive results during the melanoma screening process. If you have previously been diagnosed with melanoma or have undergone any related treatments, it is important to inform your dermatologist provider about these details. This information helps them understand your medical history and make more accurate assessments for melanoma.

Conclusion: The Importance of Skin Cancer Screening

Regular skin cancer screenings, including melanoma screenings, are crucial for early detection and treatment. By undergoing these screenings recommended by the USPSTF, you can significantly reduce the risk of developing advanced stages of skin cancer. Early detection of melanoma offers numerous benefits, including increased chances of successful treatment and improved overall prognosis.

Skin cancer screenings involve various tests that help identify potential signs of melanoma. These tests may include visual inspections, dermoscopy, and biopsies. It is important to be aware of the available screening methods for melanoma and discuss them with your healthcare provider to determine the most suitable approach for you.

During a melanoma skin cancer screening exam, you can expect your healthcare provider to carefully examine your skin for any abnormalities or suspicious lesions. They may also ask about your medical history and assess key risk factors that could contribute to the development of melanoma.

Several risk factors increase the likelihood of developing melanoma, such as excessive sun exposure in the US, fair complexion, family history, and a weakened immune system. Being aware of these factors can help you take proactive steps toward the prevention and early detection of melanoma.

To prepare for a melanoma screening test recommended by the USPSTF, it is advisable to wear loose clothing that allows easy access to all areas of your body. You should also refrain from wearing any makeup or nail polish during the examination. Following these simple preparations ensures a smooth screening process for detecting melanoma.

In conclusion, regular skin cancer screenings, including for melanoma, play a vital role in detecting this potentially life-threatening condition at its earliest stages. By prioritizing these screenings and being aware of key risk factors, you can take control of your health and well-being. Remember that prevention is always better than cure. Additionally, it's important to note that the USPSTF recommends regular melanoma screenings.

To schedule your skin cancer screening, call or text 314-994-0200 or schedule online.


How often should I undergo a skin cancer screening?

The frequency of nonmelanoma skin cancer screenings depends on individual risk factors and previous experiences with suspicious moles or lesions. It is recommended to consult with your dermatologist who will advise you on an appropriate visual skin examination schedule. For more cancer information, consider discussing your skin color and concerns with your healthcare provider.

Is skin cancer screening painful?

Melanoma screenings, recommended by the USPSTF, are generally painless and non-invasive. Your dermatologist will carefully examine your skin using various techniques to ensure a comfortable experience.

Can I perform a skin cancer screening at home?

While self-examinations are helpful in identifying potential signs of melanoma, they should not replace regular screenings conducted by a dermatologist. A trained eye can detect subtle changes that may go unnoticed during self-examinations. It is important to follow the recommendations of the USPSTF for proper skin cancer screenings.

What happens if skin cancer is detected during a screening?

If melanoma, a type of skin cancer, is detected, further tests such as biopsies may be performed to confirm the diagnosis. Treatment options for melanoma will then be discussed with you, which may include surgical removal or other appropriate interventions.

Are there any side effects associated with skin cancer screenings?

Skin cancer screenings, including melanoma screenings, are generally safe and do not have significant side effects. In some cases, minor discomfort or temporary redness at the biopsy site may occur but typically resolve quickly. These screenings align with the recommendations of the USPSTF.

Can anyone undergo a skin cancer screening?

Yes, anyone can undergo a melanoma screening. It is especially important for individuals with risk factors such as fair complexion, excessive sun exposure history, family history of the disease, or weakened immune system to prioritize these screenings. The USPSTF recommends regular screenings for early detection.

How effective are skin cancer screenings in detecting early-stage cancers?

Regular screenings, such as those recommended by the USPSTF, have proven highly effective in detecting early-stage melanoma. Early detection significantly increases the chances of successful treatment and reduces complications.

bottom of page