How to do a skin self-exam
You can improve your chances of finding skin cancer promptly by
performing a simple skin self-exam regularly. The best time to do
this self-exam is after a shower or bath. You should check your
skin in a well-lighted room using a full-length mirror and a
hand-held mirror. It's best to begin by learning where your
birthmarks, moles, and blemishes are and what they usually look
like. Here are some tips:
- Check for anything new--a change in the size, texture, or color
of a mole, or a sore that does not heal.
- Check all areas, including the back, the scalp, between the
buttocks, and the genital area.
- Look at the front and back of your body in the mirror, then
raise your arms and look at the left and right sides.
- Bend your elbows and look carefully at your palms; forearms,
including the undersides; and the upper arms.
- Examine the back and front of your legs. Also look between your
buttocks and around your genital area.
- Sit and closely examine your feet, including the soles and the
spaces between the toes.
- Look at your face, neck, and scalp. You may want to use a comb
or a blow dryer to move hair so that you can see better.
By checking your skin regularly, you will become familiar with
what is normal. If you find anything unusual, see your doctor right
away. Remember, the earlier skin cancer is found, the better the
chance for cure.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a
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