To the Editor. —
We have conducted a survey in our office. We simply asked new and old patients if they thought it was a good idea to have a complete skin examination on their first visit. In our welcome letter, new patients received an explanation why we perform complete skin examinations. They were told "it is our medical policy to examine your entire skin surface on the first visit. Only by a complete skin examination can melanomas, symptomless skin cancers that kill young and old alike, be detected before it is too late. Without a complete skin examination many diagnoses can be missed and wrong medications given. By performing a complete skin examination, I and my staff will make positive suggestions for preventing and treating other skin ailments that may be present. The skin is often a window to the inside of your body. A thorough examination tells us much about what is going on inside. When you leave our office, we want you to feel confident that your problem is being treated, your skin has been examined thoroughly, and that helpful suggestions for good general skin care have been shared. If for any reason you do not wish to have a complete skin examination, let the nurse who helps you to the examination room know your feelings."
Chiarello SE. Complete Skin Examinations. Arch Dermatol. 1989;125(5):706. doi:10.1001/archderm.1989.01670170122023