Screening for Melanoma
Screening is a way to evaluate people without symptoms to determine if they are at risk for cancer or have already developed cancer.
The National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society recommend that you perform monthly skin self-exams, especially if you have many moles. If you notice any changes, contact your health care provider.
At this time, the US Preventive Services Task Force does not recommend routine screening by a healthcare professional.
Skin self-exam – a visual check of your skin, from head to toe. Follow these tips when performing a skin self-exam:
- Use a full-length mirror or hand-held mirror to check hard to spot places, such as between the buttocks or in the genital area.
- Do the exam in a well-lit room.
- Turn from front to back and left to right.
- Note the size, shape, color, and texture of all skin blemishes and moles.
- Check your fingernails, palms, and forearms.
- Check your feet, toenails, soles of your feet, and between the toes.
- Examine your scalp, separating the hair with a comb or a blow dryer.
For more information on how to do a skin self-exam,
Physical exam – routine physical exams by your health care provider may identify suspicious lesions at an early stage.
National Cancer Institute
American Cancer Society
Last reviewed February 2003 by
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 medical condition.
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