Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. If detected in its early stages, skin cancer is typically curable. Unlike many other forms of cancer, skin cancer can often be detected through self-examination. (Breast cancer can also be detected by self-examination). Read on to learn how to identify signs of skin cancer in the comfort of your own home.
The Proper Way to Inspect Your Skin
Skin cancer self-exams should be done in front of a mirror. Begin by raising your arms and checking the left and right sides of your body. Next, bend your elbows and carefully inspect your forearms and underarms. The next area to examine should be the back of your legs, your soles and in between your toes. Last, but not least, check your scalp, buttocks and back; a mirror will greatly help in examining these areas.
Know Your ABCDE’s
When examining your skin, any signs of the ABCDEs on a mole are a cause for concern and should be further evaluated by a board-certified dermatologist for risk of malignant melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer:
- Asymmetry – the mole has uneven halves
- Border – the mole has an irregular border
- Color – the mole has fluctuating color spots
- Diameter – melanoma moles are typically over 6mm in diameter, about as big as a pencil eraser
- Evolving – a mole looks different than the others or is beginning to change in size, color or shape
When Was Your Last Complete Body Examination?
Even if you regularly examine your skin, it is important to undergo yearly complete body examinations by a board-certified dermatologist to ensure that you did not miss anything. At Advanced Dermatology, PC, our board-certified dermatologists and Mohs surgeons are experts at diagnosing and treating most forms of skin cancer. We have led the American Academy of Dermatology’s free melanoma/skin cancer screenings since 1986. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and know the status of your skin’s health. Our ten conveniently located offices welcome patients from Queens, Long Island – Nassau/Suffolk (Roslyn/Albertson, West Islip, Commack, East Setauket), New York City, Westchester County, Bergen County, NJ, Union County, NJ, and all surrounding areas.