Sun - July 2021

How to check your skin for skin cancer (My Skin My Doctor)

Skin cancers found and removed early are almost always curable. Finding them early can also prevent disfigurement and in more serious cases can be lifesaving. It is recommended that you check your skin thoroughly once a month, although if you have previously suffered with skin cancer you may well be required to check more frequently.

Should you notice anything suspicious, or feel worried or concerned about any potential abnormality, you should consult your GP or dermatologist as soon as possible.

Top tips for a thorough self-examination

  • An ideal time to check your skin is after a bath or shower
  • Make sure you check your skin in a room with plenty of light
  • Use a full-length mirror and a hand-held mirror
  • Check yourself thoroughly from head to toe:
  • Look at your face, neck, ears, and scalp.
  • When checking your scalp use a comb or a blow dryer to move your hair so that you can see better or ask a relative or friend to check through your hair as it can be hard to check by yourself.
  • Look at the front and back of your body in the mirror. Again, asking someone to help you check hard to see places like your back can be helpful.
  • Make sure you thoroughly check your entire body.
  • Remember to raise your arms and check your left and right sides.
  • Remember to check the following areas where signs and symptoms can go unnoticed:
    • Fingernails, and the palms of your hands.
    • The genital area, between your buttocks and under breasts.
    • Your feet, including your toenails, your soles, and the spaces between your toes.

Basic warning signs to detect:

  • A growth that increases in size and appears pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black, or multi-colored
  • A mole (that looks different from your other moles)
  • A mole, birthmark, beauty mark, or any brown spot that:
    • Varies in color
    • Increases in size or thickness
    • Changes in texture
    • Is irregular in outline
    • Is bigger than 6mm or 1/4", the size of a pencil eraser
    • Appears after age 21
    • A new red or darker color- flaky patch that may be a little raised
    • A new flesh-colored firm bump
    • An open sore that doesn't heal
    • A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab, erode, or bleed