A skin cancer self exam:

Posted on:May 29, 2014 by HealthCentric | Categories: Health Centric Blog,Uncategorized

 

It might be beneficial to first begin by getting a full-body skin exam by your primary care physician. You would then have a professional opinion about what is normal or not, that you can then build on that as you get into a regular routine of checking your own skin. You could then have a conversation with your doctor if there are certain moles or other skin issues to keep watch of and what specifically to look for.

It is recommended to perform a self-exam monthly, or weekly for certain people with a higher risk. Early detection is a key factor of preventing any issues from progressing too far.

It will help you perform a self-exam if you have plenty of light, a full length and hand-held mirror. You might want to print out a body map (or your doctor might have given you one if you had a full body exam previously). The Skin Cancer Foundation has one you can download and print here.

  • You will want to check your entire body, even those parts that do not get direct exposure to the sun. Don’t forget about your scalp, in between your toes, under your arms, buttocks, etc.
  • You will want to look for anything that is new (a new mole or bump).
  • Look for anything that has changed in color, size, shape or texture.
  • Look for sores that haven’t healed or moles that become itchy.

Remember that moles or freckles you have had your whole life, might start to change later in life. Also it doesn’t have to hurt or itch to be a potential symptom.

Be sun savvy and use SPF as part of your prevention. Check out our previous post on how to protect yourself from UV Exposure