Studies have shown that a periodic skin self exam can help in the
early detection of skin cancer and as a result enable its early
treatment and cure.
The frequency that this test should be
performed is directly related to your risk potential. People with a
higher risk of getting skin cancer should perform the test more
frequently. As often as once a week may be advised. However those
who are in the low risk category may not need it so frequently and
once a month should be adequate.
It is however recommended that you include
the skin test in your routine so that it becomes a habit. Who knows
it might just save your life.
The following is an example of a recommended
simple skin self exam. It is imperative that you realize that if
you find anything suspicious you must contact your doctor
- After showering, check yourself in a
well-lighted room using a full-length mirror and a hand-held
- Start by checking moles and birthmarks
you've had since birth. Look for changes, especially a new mole or
skin discoloration, a sore that does not heal, or any change in the
size, shape, texture, or color of an existing mole.
- Look at the front and back of your body in
the mirror. Then raise your arms and look at your left and right
- Bend your elbows and look carefully at your
fingernails, palms, forearms, and upper arms.
- Examine the back, front and sides of your
legs. Look between the buttocks and around the genital
- Sit and closely examine your feet, including
the toenails, soles, and spaces between the toes.
- Look at your face, neck, ears, and scalp.
Use a comb or hair dryer to move your hair so that you can see
better. Or get someone else to check your scalp for
©Copyright 1998 Elizabeth
Beckett, Holly Bernitt, and Vishwa Chandra.