When checking your skin, you want to examine your entire body, as skin cancer can occur anywhere- even in areas not exposed to sun. It can be helpful to do the exam with a partner or use a mirror or two to see out of sight areas.
Examine your body front and back in the mirror, then right and left sides with arms raised. Women should look under their breasts.
Bend elbows and look carefully at forearms, upper underarms, and palms.
Look at the backs of your legs and feet, the spaces between your toes, and on the soles. If you cannot see all parts of your feet, use a handheld mirror.
Examine the backs of your neck and scalp with a hand mirror. Part your hair to examine the entire scalp.
Finally, check your back and buttocks with a hand mirror.
What are you looking for?
Become familiar with your own skin- know your birthmarks, blemishes and moles so you can spot any changes. Look for any changes in size, color, texture or shape and report them to your healthcare provider.
Signs of skin cancer include:
Mole that is different from the rest, itches, bleeds, or is changing in any way – even if the mole is smaller than 6 millimeters (about the size of a pencil eraser)
Sore that never fully heals
Translucent growth with rolled edges
Brown or black streak underneath a nail
Cluster of slow-growing, shiny pink or red lesions
Flat or slightly depressed lesion that feels hard to the touch
You can download a free "Body Mole Map" to keep track of your moles and learn more about sun safety.
Jul 22, 2014 - Medical students and residents do not get consistent access to training in how to conduct a skin cancer examination, and need more education on how to look for skin cancer during routine medical examinations, according to a study published in the October issue of the Archives of Dermatology.