Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. In fact, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. It is estimated that approximately 9, 500 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. But did you know, Melanoma, when detected early, has a survival rate of 98%?
Early detection is key when it comes to diagnosing, and surviving, cancers such as skin cancer. Skin self-exams are recommended between office visits to help detect skin cancer.
It is important to know what your skin looks and feels like so you can identify any changes quickly. Conduct a head-to-toe self-examination of the skin every month by using these steps:
What you'll need:
- Well-lit area and/or a bright light
- Full-length mirror
- Hand mirror
- Two chairs
- Body map and a writing utensil
- It may also be helpful to have a partner to help
Step 1: Examine your face in the mirror. Be sure to include tricky areas such as the ears, mouth, lips, and nose.
Step 2: Using a comb to move hair out of the way, inspect the scalp. It may be helpful to have a partner help with this part of the exam to ensure a thorough check.
Check the hands and arms thoroughly. Be sure
to check both the palms and backs of the hands, including between the fingers and under the fingernails.
Step 4: Next, check the chest, torso, and front of the neck in the full-length mirror. Don't forget the underarms. Ladies - be sure to lift the breast to check the underside.
Step 5: Face away from the large mirror and use the hand mirror to examine the back of the neck, shoulders, upper back, and any other areas not easily seen in steps 3 or 4.
Examine the fronts and backs of the legs and
buttocks using the technique in step 5.
Step 7: Sit on a chair and prop one leg with a second chair or stool. Using the hand mirror, examine the genitals.
Finally, check the ankles and feet. As done with the hands, be sure to check the tops and bottoms of the feet, including in between toes and under toenails. Pay special attention to the sole and heel of the foot,
spots under the foot
are often rare.
If you find anything during your self-exam, make a note where they are on the body map and schedule an appointment with your doctor/provider to take a look.