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Skin Cancer Screening St. Louis

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

At Mid-County Dermatology, our board-certified dermatologists, Dr. Feigenbaum and Dr. Gibstine, understand the importance of early detection in the fight against skin cancer. Skin cancer, including melanoma and keratinocyte carcinomas (basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas), is one of the most common types of cancer worldwide. However, early detection of melanoma and other skin cancers through regular skin cancer screenings can significantly improve the chances of successful treatment and cure.

Skin cancer screening involves a thorough examination of your skin by our skin specialists. They will look for any suspicious moles, growths, or changes in your skin's appearance that could indicate melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, or other forms of skin cancer.

If you're concerned about your risk or have noticed any changes in your skin's condition, it's crucial to schedule a skin cancer screening exam with our experienced dermatology team. Call or text us at 314-994-0200 or book your appointment online. Remember, early action can make a significant difference in preventing and treating skin cancer effectively.

Importance of Regular Skin Cancer Screenings in St. Louis

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

Early Detection for Higher Survival Rates

Regular skin cancer screenings offer numerous benefits to patients in St. Louis. 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.

These 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 our dermatologists 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 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.

Financial Benefits of Early Detection

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.

Reducing Melanoma Mortality Rates

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.

Identifying Precancerous Lesions

Regular screenings also help our St. Louis skin doctors 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.

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 and early detection of melanoma and other skin issues. Knowing what to expect can help alleviate concerns and ensure you're prepared for the process. It is highly recommended to take advantage of these important preventive services.

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

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

Our dermatologists will also evaluate existing moles, birthmarks, or other spots on your body for potential skin lesions. Each spot will be carefully examined using specialized tools and techniques. We'll look for signs such as asymmetry, irregular borders, changes in color or size, and unusual textures to identify potential malignancies or precancerous conditions. If necessary, a skin biopsy may be performed to confirm a diagnosis.

Based on the screening results, our dermatologists may suggest further exams or procedures, such as a skin biopsy.

It's important to note that not all abnormal findings during the screening indicate skin cancer. Sometimes, benign conditions like seborrheic keratosis or squamous cells can mimic malignant growths. Nevertheless, it is always better to have any concerning areas evaluated by a professional, as recommended by clinical guidelines.

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. Don't hesitate to schedule an appointment with our skin specialists for a comprehensive skin exam, following the recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (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 an Effective Skin Cancer Screening

Early detection of melanoma through regular screenings, as recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), is crucial for successful treatment. To ensure an accurate and thorough screening, it's essential to follow these preparation steps:

No Makeup, Nail Polish, or Cosmetic Products

Avoid wearing any makeup, nail polish, or other cosmetic products on your face or body before the screening. These products can interfere with the examination and make it difficult for our dermatologists to assess your skin's condition accurately.

Remove Jewelry and Accessories

Remove all jewelry, accessories, and piercings before the screening. These items can obscure certain areas of the skin or create shadows, hindering a comprehensive examination.

Inform Our Team About Concerning Spots or Changes

Communicate with our dermatologists about any concerning spots, unusual moles, persistent redness, or changes you've noticed on your skin. This information helps us focus the examination on specific areas of concern for a more targeted assessment.

Provide Medication List and Skin Cancer History

Bring a list of all medications you're currently taking, as certain drugs can affect the skin's appearance and lead to false-positive results. If you have previously been diagnosed with melanoma or undergone related treatments, inform our team about your medical history for accurate assessments.

By following these preparation steps, you help ensure an effective and comprehensive skin cancer screening, enabling our skin doctors to identify any potential issues and provide appropriate guidance or treatment recommendations.

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 our skin doctors 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 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 skin specialist.

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.

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