What to Look for while Skin Checks
Skin cancers are not just unsightly they can be deadly. One of the most curable forms of cancer is skin cancer, but the cure rate depends on the preventive measures that you take, and early detection through self-checks and regular dermatology exams by a licensed professional.
You should perform a self-check at home at least once a month. It is best if you do this at the same time of the month so it becomes a routine habit for you.
Things you need to perform proper in-home skin checks
- Bright lights
- A full-length mirror
- Two chairs
- A blow dryer
- Body maps and a pencil
Step by step instructions
- Examine your face first. Look at your nose, your ears, the back of your ears, your lips and your mouth.
- Use the blow dryer to help you thoroughly inspect your scalp. Your blow dryer can help to move your hair so you can see your scalp more clearly.
- Look closely at your hands. Look between the fingers and at the palms of the hand. Continue to examine the skin of your arms and forearms. Look at the front and the back of your arms
- Stand in front of a full-length mirror so you can examine your upper arms. Lift your arms so you can see the back of the arm.
- Carefully examine your neck, chest and torso. Lift your breasts and examine the under-side of them
- Use a hand mirror and examine your back, buttocks and the backs of your legs
- Sit down and carefully examine your feet, between the toes and the soles of the feet
Mark any new lesions, moles, or spots on the body map so you can tell your doctor when you go see them. Mark in changes you notice in moles that were already present.
What am I looking for?
When you do a self-check for skin cancer you are looking for the following things.
- New moles or freckle spots that appear suddenly
- Moles that are asymmetrical or misshaped. Moles that are cancerous are usually ugly, they are not usually evenly shaped, and the edges may seem rough
- Moles that are growing larger
- Dark spots on the skin, or discolored areas of skin
- Lesions of any sort
- Any lesion that has changed, or that itches, or seems to be difficult to heal are suspicious
What to do if you find anything suspicious
If you find a mole or lesion, or anything suspicious on your body then you need to make an appointment at a skin check clinic. You should never wait until your next scheduled physical because cancerous lesions need to be addressed as soon as possible to increase your chances of getting completely rid of them.