Finding suspicious moles or skin cancer early is the key to treating skin cancer successfully. A skin self-exam is usually the first step in detecting skin cancer. The following suggested method of self-examination comes from the American Cancer Society:
(You will need a full-length mirror, a hand mirror, and a brightly lit room.)
- Examine your body front and back in mirror, then the right and left sides, with your arms raised.
- Bend your elbows, look carefully at your forearms, the back of your upper arms, and the palms of your hands. Check between your fingers and look at your nail beds.
- Look at backs of your legs and feet, spaces between your toes, your toenail beds, and the soles of your feet.
- Examine the back of your neck and scalp with a hand mirror.
- Check your back, buttocks, and genital area with a hand mirror.
- Become familiar with your skin and the pattern of your moles, freckles, and other marks.
- Be alert to changes in the number, size, shape, and color of pigmented areas.
- Follow the ABCD Chart when examining moles of other pigmented areas and consult your physician promptly if you notice any changes.