How can I give myself an at-home skin screening?
I am a big fan of monthly self checks, it's important to get to know your own body in order to be able to recognize something early should it arise. This is when skin cancer is most treatable and less likely to leave large scars behind.
To do this, you need a well-lit room, full length mirror, and hand held mirror for areas that are hard to see. First do a general scan by examining the front and back of your body in the mirror, looking at the right and left sides with your arms raised. Check your face, ears, neck, chest, belly, and under your breasts. Check both sides of your arms, the tops and palms of your hands, and your nails. Look at the back 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 the hand held mirror. Check your scalp by parting your hair (you can also ask your hairstylist at your next cut to check for you!). Finally, check your back, butt, and genitals with the hand held mirror.
Consult a dermatologist if any of your moles show the following:
Asymmetry: One half is different from the other.
Borders: An irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined border.
Color: The color is varied from one side to the other, has shades of tan, brown, or black, or is sometimes white, red, or blue.
Diameter: Melanomas usually are great than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, but they can be smaller.
Evolving: A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in shape, size, or color.