Regular skin exams are essential for the early detection of skin cancer. 70% of skin cancer cases are found by patients, not doctors, so it is important to get to know your body and look for any new or changing lesions. Remember, all moles are guilty until proven innocent, and it is important to find the suspicious ones early and talk to your doctor right away.
It is recommended that you perform monthly head-to-toe skin self examinations. The first time you examine your skin, spend some time learning the patterns of moles, freckles and blemishes on your skin to better compare and track changes the following months. Each time you perform a self-examination, carefully go through the following steps, ensuring you check the entire surface of your skin.
For those with MoleScope: Each time you perform a skin self-check, use your MoleScope device to take a dermoscopic image of your moles. The app allows you to track your moles and watch for any subtle changes that may occur, so that you aren’t left wondering, “Has that mole always looked like that?”
For others, you will need: a full-length mirror, a hand-held mirror, a blow dryer, a chair or seat to sit on, and a well-lit area.
Begin by facing the full-length mirror. Examine your face carefully, ensuring to check the lips, mouth, nose, and both sides of the ear. (It may help to use the hand-held mirror as well as the full-length mirror to get a better look)
Use the blow dryer to examine the entire surface of the scalp
Facing the full-length mirror, inspect the neck, chest and torso. Women: check the skin underneath each breast. Ensure to lift your arms and check the sides of your upper body as well.
Face away from the full-length mirror, holding the handheld mirror. Examine your back, your shoulders, the back of your neck, and any other body parts you could not see from the front
From there, continue down your body and examine your buttocks and the backs of your thighs.
Sit on the chair or seat. Scan your legs, using the handheld mirror to look at the back of each leg. Check the tops and soles of your feet, ensuring to check the spaces between your toes, and underneath your toenails.
Use the handheld mirror to check your genitals and the insides of your thighs
Bend your elbows and carefully inspect all sides of your arms, shoulders and underarms.
Thoroughly inspect the tops and palms of your hands, one by one. Check in between your fingers and underneath your fingernails
The early detection of skin cancer is essential. MoleScope makes skin screening simple by helping you track your moles and watch for changes over time. Get peace of mind and make skin checks a regular part of your monthly routine - it could save your life.
American Cancer Society: Skin exams
SkinCancer.org: Step by Step Self-Examination
American Academy of Dermatology: How to perform a self-exam