First and foremost, CONGRATULATIONS and you said it all very well! Karma for you.
As for taking off all your clothes including underwear and laying under a sheet for a dermo skin check, this is done as routine for skin checks. It is in the best intrest of the patient as well as the provider. It allows for complete viewing of all the skin and makes it much easier to assess visually as well as tactfully any thickenings, thinning, indentation, color changes etc vs just having on view select areas currently being examined and evaluated.
I have the following posted in an additional thread, though I feel it belongs here as well.
SKIN CANCER, MELANOMA prevention, treatment is one of my biggest platforms, passions!
Even if your provider offers you a gown, a drape for modesty and moves it as needed, EVERYTHING needs to be looked at. This includes all the places skin cancers, pre skin cancers, melanoma likes to hide and is easily not noticed. Women, when having a skin cancer check, IT IS BEST to not wear fake nails, painted nails on your fingers and toes. It is also best to refrain from wearing any cosmetics. Skin cancer, melanoma can be found anywhere, including inside of the body. Even those that occur inside of the body can be caused from sun exposure and tanning beds. The following list are places skin cancer and melanoma grow that is easily overlooked. These areas need special attention.
- on your head, in your hair
- the back of your neck
- in your ears, on your ears, behind your ears
- in natural occurring body creases such as the back of your neck
- in the webbing of your fingers
- in nailbeds of your fingers and toes
- the bottom of your feet,
- the backside of your legs and arms
- between the buttocks (buttcrack)
- femoral fold where the femoral pulse is located
- back of the knee where the popliteal pulse is located
- back of the elbows
- creases in the eylids, in the eyebrows
- creases in the nose
- between the folds of the male and female genitalia, on the genitalia and in the pubic hair
- in gluteal fold in the back of the leg where the gluteal muscles meet the hamstrings (the crease under the buttcheek where it meets the back of the leg)
It is important to learn the signs of skin cancer and melanoma. Some things to be aware of is a zit or something similar that never goes away in the same spot. My Mom, who was almost killed by melanoma. After barely surviving her first diagnosis of melanoma she developed a very small red mark on the side of her nose that never seemed to go away after it appeared. It turned out to be melanoma again. We caught it soon enough and it was a quick office procedure to remove it. It was removed without leaving a scar using the Mohs technique. The Mohs technique is used to eliminate or reduce scars if at all possible. There are things that look like skin cancer or melanoma that are not skin cancer, pre cancerous or melanoma. There are also things that look like nothing at all that are pre cancerous, skin cancer or melanoma.
Yes, there are different types of skin. Some skin types are very high risk for skin cancer and melanoma. The enviroment you live in, elevation above and at sea level also play into elevating or reducing your risk per your inherent genetically imposed risk factors. Though it is important to remember that ANYONE, ANY SKIN TYPE CAN DEVELOP SKIN CANCER AND MELANOMA. Yes, a General Practioner, Internist, Family Medical Physician, Physician Assistant, Nurse Practioner can give you a look over for anything obvious to their eye as in the places it likes to hide. It IS best to have your skin check to be done by a Dermotologist. Some of them have Physician Assistants and Nurse Practioners who do the cancer skin checks and may do the biopsy, Mohs. Bear in mind they have training for it. You can always insist to have the Dermotologist perform the exam. If one of these assistants insists on doing a preliminary exam, an extra set of eyes and hands is always a good thing when it comes to skin cancer and melanoma exams. Thickness, thinning of skin, rough areas, raised areas of the skin etc are felt with the hands and fingers as well as visually inspected. It is appropriate to have your skin palpated for these very reasons.
Ladies, skin cancer and melanoma does hide in the vagina. During the internal portion of the pelvic exam, skin cancer and melanoma can be checked for visually and through palpation. If you are higher or high risk for skin cancer and or melanoma be sure to remind your provider to check for it when they are performing the pelvic exam.
Using skin products for the sun and understand how the following factors should determine what products you use:
- Understand the differences between sun tanning lotions, sunscreens, sunblocks
- Understand the differences between water resistant, waterproof, sweat proof
- Understand the correct way to apply these products for maximum protection
- Understand the terms broad spectrum, helioplex, UVA/UVB rays
- If your lip balms, chapsticks, cosmetics, moisturizer has sun protection in them, be aware of how they work and interact
You can ask your dermotologist to explain this. If they are unsure, as some of them are, you can ask them for information on who to contact such as a dermotologist who specializes in skin cancer and melanoma. Yes, Dermotology has specialties within its own category.
Yes, just because its cloudy out, inclement weather etc, the sun rays still come through onto your skin. Tanning salons, tanning beds, they are just as dangerous as the sun, in fact they are a lot more dangerous. One of the melanoma cancer survivors, their family owned a chain of tanning salons here. This incredible lady followed all the rules set to "safely" tan in a tanning bed. Before she started tanning she was very low risk for melanoma. It almost killed her and many others they knew. Even with extensive plastic surgery, it is still obvious the damage that was done. The family closed all their tanning salons.
Skin cancer and melanoma are one of the easiest cancers to prevent as well as treat when they are found early.
WHY AM I SO PASSIONATE ABOUT IT? It has killed family members and friends, almost killed family members and friends. The first one I found on the crown of my Mothers head looked like nothing. I found it when I was coloring her hair. It almost killed her. It had already spread into some of the lymph nodes. I am also VERY fair skinned natural redhead that increases my high risk even more so. No, I am not afraid of the sun. I use smarts and wisdom to protect myself. My family members and friends who have died from it and those who have not died with it have always been very careful to minimize the risks they/we have control over.
Melanoma, breast cancer and colon cancer have the same gene marker, BRCA. It has been discovered that having one of these cancers develop can trigger/cause one of the others to develop. The dermatologist and oncologist our family and many of our friends use is one of the very top experts in the fields of skin cancer and melanoma prevention, treatment and research. He and fellow colleagues are involved in making this information available to the medical community, providers, patients, caregivers for those with melanoma as well as regarding breast and colon cancer.In addition to full body dermo checks, for those who are melanoma survivors, a head to toe full body PET scan is done as routine every 6 months for the first 3-5yrs and then once a year. The frequency the PETS are done are also based on the patient history, family history, risk, type of melanoma and the treatment(s) they received as well as places it has or may metastasize to.
Why a PET scan vs an MRI or CT? Cancer cells are drawn, attracted to sugar. Cancer cells LOVE sugar. The radioactive sugar prep the patient is given is full of radioactive sugar. If there are cancer cells present, it shows up on the scan. There is a chance of false positives with this test, though for the most part this is one of the most affective tools for detecting cancer where it is not visually seen or felt with physical hands on examination. Lymphatic mapping is used as a tool, generally when cancer is already found and it is suspected to have traveled into the lymph ducts, nodes and or vessels of the lymphatic system. The test results also determine what course of treatment is needed.