You are your best look out when it comes to skin cancer detection. By following these simple guidelines, recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology, you will be able to observe any changes in your skin. By noticing changes early, you can catch and treat possible skin cancers early.
What’s the Best Way to Check My Skin?
- Pick a day every month that you will do a quick once over, then do it. The first of the month is great- as you turn your calendar, do your skin check!
- Get a pencil and paper to note anything you find that is new or looks suspicious.
- The best method is head to toe. Start at the top of your head, lift up your hair, examine your hairline, and scalp. Take a close look at your face (without makeup ladies!), check all around your ears and neck.
- Go to your torso next. Look at your front side closely. Women should lift your breasts and look underneath, check your armpits, and all around your abdomen.
- Arms and hands next, including front and back sides.
- Groin area, front and backs of thighs then down to knees, calves, ankles, and feet (tops and soles).
- Have a friend or relative examine your back side, and assist with going through your hair.
What Am I looking for?
You are looking for any new lumps, bumps, spots, moles, or discolorations. At the same time, you are looking at moles that you have had for a while, to see if they have changed shape or color, have changed their borders, grown, developed a scale or scab, or anything about them that is different.
Write the Changes Down!
Make an appointment to see your Dermatologist, bringing your notes with you. If you can find a dermatologist that uses a Dermatoscope and is trained to perform MOHS Micrographic Surgery for Skin Cancer Removal, all the better.
Once your Dermatologist has examined you, ask him/her to recommend the frequency of visits for the future. If you are committed to monthly home skin checks, you are a great patient, and will have the best chance for early skin cancer detection should it develop.
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