How to examine your skin
The first line of defense against skin cancer starts with you. Examine your skin on a regular basis for signs of skin cancer and consult your doctorif you notice anything suspicious. These simple steps can help ensure that skin cancer is diagnosed in its earliest, most treatable stage. Below you will find information about how to examine your skin and what signs to look for.
How to perform a self-exam
Examine your body front and back in the mirror, then look at the right and left sides with your arms raised. Bend elbows and look carefully at forearms, upper underarms and palms. Look at the backs of your legs and feet, the spaces between your toes, and the soles of your feet.
Examine the back of your neck and scalp with a hand mirror. Part hair for a closer look.
Finally, check your back and buttocks with a hand mirror.
Consult your doctor if:
One half is unlike the other half.
An irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border.
Is varied from one area to another; has shades of tan, brown, or black; or is sometimes white, red or blue.
Melanomas usually are greater than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, but they can be smaller.
A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color.
In addition, you can download the AAD's (American Academy of Dermatolgy) body mole map to document your self-examination.