You can catch skin cancer early by examining your skin. Involving a partner is especially helpful when checking the back and other hard-to-see areas.
Here’s how to check your skin and what to look for.
When examining your skin, look for the ABCDEs of melanoma. Make an appointment with your dermatologist immediately if any of your moles have these signs:
A – Asymmetry: One half of the spot is unlike the other half.
B – Border: The spot has an irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined border.
C – Color: The spot has varying colors from one area to the next, such as shades of tan, brown, or black, or with areas of white, red or blue.
D – Diameter: Melanomas are usually greater than 6mm, or about the size of a pencil eraser when they are diagnosed, but they can be smaller.
E – Evolving: A mole or spot on your skin that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape, or color.
You can use the American Academy of Dermatology’s free “Body Mole Map” to help you keep a record of your moles. A record helps you detect spots that are growing, bleeding, itching or changing in any way. Make sure to add any new moles, or sores that heal, but keep returning.
You start a self-skin exam by looking at the front and back of your body. When examining your own skin, stand in front of a mirror. Raise the arms and examine the right and left sides of the body. Then bend your elbows and look carefully at your forearms, upper underarms and palms. Next, examine the back of your legs, spaces between your toes and your soles. Then, examine those hard-to-see areas like your back, buttocks and the top of your head. Use a mirror to inspect the back of your neck and scalp, parting your hair for a better view.
Become familiar with your skin, especially your moles. And, alert your dermatologist about any changes to moles or spots on your skin. Catching skin cancer early is key for successful treatment.
If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to Dermatology Health Specialists right away at 541-382-8819.