Saturday, October 25, 2014
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 sherri, Community Member, asks

Q: In an all over skin exam, is it standard for the "private parts" to also be examined for cancer?

Mine and my husband's dermatologist examines our private areas when he does an all-over body skin exam.  Is this standard?  I thought so, but a friend of mine thinks it is not.  Please advise.

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Answers (2)
HealthGal, Health Guide
8/14/08 10:29pm

I have never had my dermatologist examine the genital area closely - my once a year Gyn exam usually takes care of a close up look and PAP smear at that time.  Did you offer any information during the "history part" of your discussion with the dermatologist that might have him examining you for a herpes rash or other skin

STD signs?  Do you have a family  history of skin cancer that might be encouraging the dermatologist to want to scrutinize you more closely?  If not, I would come right out and ask the reason directly from the doctor and see if the explanation offered is adequate.

Dr. Hema Sundaram, Health Guide
9/ 3/08 8:27pm

Dear Sherri,


It is absolutely appropriate and an essential part of a complete skin examination or skin cancer screening for your outer genital region to be examined. This is an area where you can develop skin cancer, pre-cancer or other problems. You should also examine your genitalia yourself when performing skin self-examination as recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology. Your hair, mouth and nails should also be examined as they are derived from your skin. I think it's best for the dermatologist to have a chaperone in the examination room while performing the skin exam so that the patient feels comfortable. It's especially helpful for a female assistant to serve as a chaperone when the dermatologist is male  and the patient is female.


If you feel uncomfortable with how your genital exam is being performed, you should discuss this with your dermatologist.


Hope this helps.


Dr. Hema

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By sherri, Community Member— Last Modified: 11/17/10, First Published: 08/12/08