S.H. asks from Huntsville, AL on September 10, 2011
First Dermatologist Appointment
I decided today I need to make an appointment with a dermatologist. I found one & will be calling them Monday morning to hopefully get an appointment.
I have what I assume is a mole on my shoulder/arm. I think it may have been there for a few years. But today I rubbed my hand there & noticed it was sore. In the shower when I scrubbed that area, it bled a little. This is when I decided I'm definitely getting an appointment ASAP.
I've never been to a dermatologist before. What should I expect? Should I find all of my "weird" spots to show them, or just focus on this one since it is actually bothering me? I have a few other spots that might just be moles, and they've been there for a long time & never bothered me.
What will they do to check this one spot? I hope nothing too painful! lol
So What Happened?™
Thanks for all the info! Unfortunately they can't get me in until November 3! Oh well, maybe my hubby will be able to go with me & hold my hand then! :-P
L.A. answers from Minneapolis on September 10, 2011
Good for you for going! I have had a few derm appts for weird moles and skin issues. As far as what to expect, it is simple. They will have you take off everything (except your underwear) and give you the fabulous paper gown to wear. They will check you over mole by mole. It is actually a lot quicker than I expected. The moles we had questions about they removed. It is very simple. They will inject a little numbing stuff under the mole and take it off. It is usually just a little punch thing that takes it off. Ive had one mole come back precancerous. They cut it off. They called me a little later that week and gave me the results. I had to go back in and they removed more around it to make sure they got everything. That was a little more extensive, it required stitches, but I was in and out. I actually enjoy going to the dermatologist. Just relax--it will be fine.
4 moms found this helpful
M.W. answers from San Francisco on September 10, 2011
I just had the same type of situation happen to me about 6 months ago. I made an appt and went in. I first mentioned the mole I was concerned about. She checked it and then did a full body check. She started with my scalp and then moved down. They have laser eyes for checking abnormalities. Dr. will make notes and keep everything she sees on file. I will go see her every couple years just to get checked over. It is good to keep with the same doctor if at all possible. The doctor will know YOUR body and notice any slow changes over the years.
Make sure to mention the cancer that runs in your family. Do some homework ahead of time by asking family members about the cancer.
Good luck and best wishes at having a positive first time visit!(actually...hope it is a "negative" experience...just a play on words regarding your cancer worry)
3 moms found this helpful
J.I. answers from San Antonio on September 10, 2011
You pay for the doctor - have them do a whole-body check. I went in a year ago with a rash on my neck and said "Well while I'm here can you just check everything?" She looked only on my back, neck, scalp, face and told me "This is normal." and "Have you had this for a long time?"
That's all I know. Relax, and get your money's worth from the dermatologist while you're there!
3 moms found this helpful
M.R. answers from Chicago on September 10, 2011
When I took my 16 year old in for acne she did a scalp, upper body and leg check for moles. I didn't even ask her to, but glad she did. I would assume your dermatologist will be giving you a good once over!
2 moms found this helpful
D.B. answers from Charlotte on September 10, 2011
This initial appointment would be for the mole, and then make an appointment to have a full "inspection" done.
According to how big the mole is and where it is, you should decide if you want to have a plastic surgeon sew up the site where the dermatologist removes the mole. You'll have a better scar outcome if you have a plastic surgeon stitch you up.
1 mom found this helpful
L.R. answers from Washington DC on September 11, 2011
Ask when you phone whether this appointment includes a full-body check. It's essential that you get one.
Some doctors will do it as a matter of course the first time they see a new patient for any reason. But others may say "You have to make another appointment for that as a checkup; because you came to me for a specific problem I can only deal with that problem at this appointment." That's sadly slack, but it's the insurance companies that force doctors to do that kind of thing; I've had a doctor (not dermatologist) say that they couldn't really discuss other things unrelated to the reason for an appointment unless I made another appointment for the purpose of talking about those other concerns! And they were clear it was down to insurance companies, not their own preferences. Ridiculous, no? But it depends on your insurance as well as on how truly conscientious the doctor wants to be.
You should get a full body check no matter how they make you arrange it, especially with any cancer in your family.
And by the way -- are you able to call a specialist like a dermatologist without a referral from a primary care physician first? If you are, good for you! But if you are in an HMO, you'd better check; they usually force you to see your primary doctor first and get a written referral to a specialist like a dermatologist. I know -- my husband has to see the primary EVERY time he wants to see a dermatologist and it means his temporary skin issues have cleared up by the time he actually gets into the dermatologist's office weeks later!
S.L. answers from San Francisco on September 11, 2011
I second the others when they say get the full body check--and get one yearly, just like you do your pelvics and (depending on your age) mammograms.
Like Leah, I've had a few things removed. When I first met my husband I noticed one on him and made sure he got it looked at. The doctor said it was indeed not good, cut it out, and that was that. So try to relax, because you are there to find the "not goods" and remove them : ) You will be fine! And won't you feel better once that thing is off of you???
Lastly, if I find "weird spots" on me or my husband, I circle them with a pen before we go in. Seriously!