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While many doctors do skin exams as part of a normal annual physical, having an annual skin-specific physical is a very good idea, and the best place to do that is in a dermatology office.

While your family doctor can and should do a skin exam, the truth is that anything that looks unusual or abnormal will end up getting you referred to a dermatologist. So sometimes it can be simpler to just start with a specialist. A skin exam at a dermatologist’s office is often more detailed because you are dealing with a doctor who has been specially trained in treating conditions that affect the skin.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, skin cancer affects one out of every five Americans, and more than three and a half million new cases are diagnosed each year. Every hour, one person in the United States dies from melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer and has one of the fastest growing incidence rates in the world.

Regardless of the type of skin cancer though, according to Cancer.org, the success rates for individuals diagnosed and treated at very early stages is as high as 97%. This is the number one reason why you should have skin exams at least once per year, and more often if recommended by your dermatologist.

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