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Perform a Self-Exam
Skin cancer has a 95% cure rate when detected early, and a key to early detection is regular self-examinations of your skin. Everyone, not only those with an increased risk of developing skin cancer, should perform regular skin examinations. Examining your skin for suspicious moles and other lesions could save your life.

What to look for:

A mole that has begun to grow, bleed, or itch.

Translucent pearl-shaped growth.

Mole with any of these features: Asymmetrical shape, irregular borders , variations in color or overall size is larger than a pencil eraser.
Sores that don't quite heal or sores that repeatedly heal and reopen.

Cluster of shiny or scaly lesions that are brown, pink or red.

Brown or black streak underneath a nail.
Flat or slightly depressed lesion that feels hard to the touch.

Smooth, waxy, scar-like lesions.


This self-exam "how to" is provided by The Skin Cancer Foundation.
What you'll need: a bright light; a full-length mirror; a hand mirror; two chairs or stools; a blow-dryer.

skin cancer self-exam

Examine head and face, using one or both mirrors. Use blow-dryer to inspect scalp.

skin cancer self-exam

Check hands, including nails. In full-length mirror, examine elbows, arms, underarms.

skin cancer self-exam Focus on neck, chest, torso. Women: Check under breasts.
skin cancer self-exam With back to the mirror, use hand mirror to inspect back of neck, shoulders, upper arms, back, buttocks, legs.
skin cancer self-exam

Sitting down, check legs and feet, including soles, heels, and nails. Use hand mirror to examine genitals.

If you find any skin changes or suspicious lesions, do not panic, but do make an appointment for a skin cancer screening with your physician as soon as possible.

Photos and descriptions of different types of skin cancer are available here.

This website exists to spread awareness of skin cancer risks, detection and early prevention. It contains the opinions of one doctor and is not a substitute for the advice or care of your physician.
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