Diagnosing Melanoma

How to perform a skin self-examination:

Finding suspicious moles or skin cancer early is the key to treating skin cancer successfully. A skin self-exam is usually the first step in detecting skin cancer. The following suggested method of self-examination comes from the American Cancer Society:

(You will need a full-length mirror, a hand mirror, and a brightly lit room.)

  • Examine your body front and back in mirror, then the right and left sides, with your arms raised.
  • Bend your elbows, look carefully at your forearms, the back of your upper arms, and the palms of your hands.
  • Look at backs of your legs and feet, spaces between your toes, and the soles of your feet.
  • Examine the back of your neck and scalp with a hand mirror.
  • Check your back and buttocks with a hand mirror.
  • Become familiar with your skin and the pattern of your moles, freckles, and other marks.
  • Be alert to changes in the number, size, shape, and color of pigmented areas.
  • Follow the ABCD Chart when examining moles of other pigmented areas and consult your physician promptly if you notice any changes.

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