FIGHT THE RAYS Suncare Web Extras

July 28, 2009
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How to Perform a Self Exam

Skin cancer is very treatable when detected early, so a self-exam is important to knowing your moles and how they might change, grow or bleed on the skin.

1. Examine your body front and back in the mirror, then look at the right and left sides with your arms raised.

2. Bend elbows and look carefully at forearms, upper underarms, and palms.

3. Look at the backs of your legs and feet, the spaces between your toes, and on the sole.

4. Examine the back of your neck and scalp with a hand mirror. Part hair for a closer look.

5. Finally, check your back and buttocks with a hand mirror.

The ABCDEs of Melanoma Detection

Consult your dermatologist immediately if any of your moles or pigmented spots exhibit:

Asymmetry: One half is unlike the other half.

Border: An irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined border.

Color: Is varied from one area to another; has shades of tan, brown, or black; is sometimes white, red, or blue.

Diameter: Melanomas usually are greater 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 size, shape, or color.

Get a Free Skin Cancer Screening in Your Area


Dermatologists across the country volunteer their time to offer free skin cancer screenings. Most screenings take place in the spring, but they are offered throughout the year.

If you do not find a screening in your area, bookmark the above link (or the website) and check back later. Listings are updated weekly. This link also shows a video on what to expect at a screening

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