See Spot, Watch Spot – How Annual Full Skin Exams Help with Early Skin Cancer Detection

As spring approaches and the weather starts warming up, many of us are likely to spend more time outdoors. So, it’s important to remember that too much sun exposure can be harmful to your skin and lead to skin cancer. May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, making it the perfect time to schedule your annual full skin exam, an essential part of early skin cancer detection.

Dr. Irene K. Mannering, Board-Certified Dermatologist, recently spoke with Ariana Bennett of KTVN Channel 2 News about the importance of scheduling annual full skin exams. In the interview, Dr. Mannering offers some helpful advice on how to go about scheduling an appointment, as well as when to seek medical attention.

Scheduling an Appointment

One common issue many people face is being unable to schedule an appointment when needed. Dr. Mannering advises that even if you don’t need to see a Dermatologist right away, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment and become an established patient. This is especially true for those with higher risk factors for skin cancer or other dermatological conditions. There’s always a chance that a cancellation may open an appointment slot, and you’ll be the first to know by being on the waitlist.

Dr. Mannering understands the frustration of not being able to schedule an appointment right away when you have something growing on your skin. However, she and her team do their best to accommodate those in need. Skin Cancer & Dermatology Clinic recently recruited new Providers, with another one joining the team this summer, so hopefully, wait times will improve. There are also two new locations that have opened, which will provide better availability for patients. Last year, a new location opened in Monte Vista, and just recently, the South Reno location celebrated its opening.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Dr. Mannering also offers advice on when to see a Dermatologist. For example, if you have a spot that has been there for more than a few weeks and doesn’t seem to be going away or seems to go away but keeps coming back, that’s a good indication to bring it to your Provider’s attention. In this situation, Dr. Mannering recommends waiting about three to four weeks before seeing a Dermatologist.

Anyone at high risk for skin cancer should consult with a Dermatologist. High-risk factors include:

  • Intense sun exposure
  • Fair skin and light eyes
  • Family history of skin cancer (especially early melanoma)
  • Taking medications to suppress the immune system
  • Having more freckles or moles than average (anywhere from 25 to 50 moles)
  • Being over 50, especially if you’ve had a lot of sun exposure

While skin cancer is certainly a concern, Dermatologists also treat conditions like acne, eczema, psoriasis, and other rashes. So, if you have a rash that’s not going away or getting worse, make an appointment with a Dermatologist.

The ABCDEs of Melanoma – Suspicious Spots

So how do you know what you’re looking for on your skin? If you notice a spot that doesn’t look like any other spot on your body, you may want to pay attention to it. Dr. Mannering calls these the “Ugly Duckling” spots. An Ugly Duckling spot is a skin lesion that just doesn’t look like any other on your body. Keep an eye on any spot that doesn’t look right, as it could indicate skin cancer.

Melanoma can appear anywhere on your body, even in areas that haven’t been sunburned. Dr. Mannering stresses the importance of watching for the ABCDEs of melanoma:

Asymmetry – when one half of the spot looks different than the other half

Border – uneven or irregular borders

Color – spot is more than one color or shade.

Diameter – tends to be larger, often more significant than ¼ inch in diameter.

Evolution – when you can see it change over time.

In conclusion, scheduling an annual full skin exam is important, especially if you’re at higher risk for skin cancer. At your appointment with your Dermatologist, make sure to point out the spots on your skin you’re concerned about.

To schedule your annual full skin exam, or if you have any skin care concerns, make an appointment with our Skin Cancer & Dermatology Clinic Providers. We have five locations in Reno, as well as locations in Carson City, Elko, Fallon, Incline Village, Sparks, and Truckee.

About Dr. Irene K. Mannering

Dr. Mannering is a Board-Certified Dermatologist at our Sparks and South Reno locations. She is passionate about helping patients of all ages by providing skin cancer screenings and treatment, performing surgeries, and treating all types of skin conditions, including acne, psoriasis, and eczema. In her free time, she enjoys running, hiking, fishing, and traveling with her husband, children, and their dog.