Skin Cancer Self-Exam

Skin cancer is one of the most pervasive types of cancer. It is present in as many as a million Americans alone. Luckily, it is also one of the easiest types of cancer to treat. Of the three types of skin cancer, only one is known to commonly result in death, and even that type (melanoma) can be treated when diagnosed early.

That is why it is important to make sure that your body is healthy and cancer-free. It is recommended you perform a self examination of your body at least once in every month, to ensure that you can catch any problems before they develop further, and possibly spread to other parts of the body, as melanoma often does.

Shower First

When conducting a skin cancer self test, it is best to perform it after you get out of the shower or bath. This ensures that the skin is clean and smooth, so that you dont miss any aberrations that may be present. For men, it is also suggested you do a testicular self-exam once per month; consolidating these two important tests can save you time. For women, checking for breast cancer once a month is of utmost importance, and combining the two tests is recommended.

Hit the Lights

The perfect setting for a self-exam for skin cancer would be to have bright lighting and a full length mirror. Not a single inch should be unexamined when you conduct the self-test; even the most hard to see areas, including the genitals, the buttocks, the top of your head and the entire span of your back, should be checked.

If you have to, use a hand mirror for reflecting into the full length mirror on eye hard-to-see spots on your body. If there is any spot that you cannot see yourself, dont disregard the area. Have someone that you trust help you to perform the examination. Shyness should be put aside when it comes to your personal health.

Watch for Unusual Marks

When checking for skin cancer, be aware of any new markings present on your skin. This would include any discoloration of the skin, blemishes, bumps of any sort and moles. If you have moles already, be sure to check them to make certain they have not changed size, shape, color or feel. Problem moles commonly are assymetrical, and can have ragged edges and different colors than the other moles present on your body.

If you have moles or lesions that dont seem to heal, these are important to note as well. If you happen to find any differences in your body, take careful note of where they are and what they are so that you can relay the information to your health care professional. If any significant difference is noted, it is key to your health to visit a doctor straight away. The earlier skin cancer is detected, the more likely you are to be able to treat it successfully.

See Also:

Basal Cell Carcinoma