Skin cancer is the most common cancer in our country, with 1 in 5 Americans facing it in their
lives. But the good news is that skin cancer is highly treatable when caught early. Regular skin
checks are something everyone can do to better their odds.
Annual exams with your board-certified dermatologist are important. But in between visits,
patients should regularly stand before a mirror and examine their own skin for changes that
could signal cancer. Couples may find it easier to help each other check their skin.
Watch for moles or spots that are new, look different from anything else on your body, have
changed since the last time you looked, or are itchy or bleeding. If you detect these or other
changes, contact your board-certified dermatologist right away.
To conduct an effective self-exam, start in front of a full-length mirror.
– Scan your entire body, front and back.
– Raise your arms overhead and scan both sides of your torso.
– Look even at your underarms, forearms and palms.
– On your lower body, check the front and back of your legs.
– Remember to look between your toes and the soles of your feet.
The back of your body can get a lot of sun and needs careful attention.
– Use a hand mirror to check your neck and scalp, parting your hair to look beneath it.
– Also use the mirror to exam your back and buttocks.
For more information about identifying problematic moles, visit the American Academy of
Dermatology (AAD) https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/skin-cancer/find/at-risk/abcdes.
Carefully recording body spots and marking changes can help you communicate your concerns
to your dermatologist. This free Body Mole Map is another helpful tool.
The sun doesn’t have to be something to fear, and neither does skin cancer. Be aware, be
vigilant and #PracticeSafeSun. https://www.aad.org/public/public-health/awareness-