Free shipping on all orders over $50  |  Play smart. Play safe. Non-toxic suncare

Detecting Skin Cancer – Spot It and Stop It

by kelly / May, 10 2017 01:30

Picture of woman with her bare shoulder, red lips and long brown hair

If you can spot skin cancer, you can stop it. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation skin cancer is the easiest cancer to cure if detected and treated early. So here’s some tips on how best to spot skin cancer with regular self-exams as part of our on-going series to support Skin Cancer Awareness month this May.

These tips are aggregated from the Skin Cancer Foundation and the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). Be sure to check out the great video on detecting skin cancer. I’ve posted it down below.

When to Exam

Exams should be performed regularly – often enough that it becomes a habit. For most people once a month is a good average. Make sure to couple these self-exams with annual doctor visits. Of course always consult your physician to see if you need to do more frequent visits or self-exams.

Who Should Exam

Everyone should perform these self-exams and make regular doctor visits. It’s also a great idea to start teaching children at an early age how to do it especially as melanoma accounts for approximately 7% of all cancers diagnosed in 15-19 year olds. I’m going to train my soon to come child early on!

What to Look For During Exams

Don’t ignore odd spots on your body just because they don’t hurt. Skin cancer can be painless but dangerous at the same time. If you notice any of the below during your self exam – consult a doctor as soon as possible:

  • A skin growth that increases in size and appears pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black, or multicolored
  • A mole, birthmark, beauty mark, or any brown spot that: changes 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 spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab, erode, or bleed
  • An open sore that does not heal within three weeks

The AAD also has a handy guide here to track and record any spots you find.

How to Exam

It’s best to stand in front or a mirror while examining. It’s also good to have a partner help for harder to see places. Check the following parts of your body.

  1. Face – nose, lip, mouth and ears
  2. Scalp and back of neck – part hair for a closer look
  3. Body front and back in the mirror, then look at the right and left sides with arms raised
  4. Bend elbows and look carefully at forearms, upper underarms and palms
  5. Look at the backs of legs and feet, the spaces between toes, and the soles of feet
  6. The back and buttock

Again if anything looks abnormal follow-up with a physician – the sooner you spot it, the more likely you are to stop it.

Skin Cancer Awareness

For even more helpful advice and information on skin cancer check out our Skin Cancer and Suncare Smarts posts.

Self Exam Video from the AAD

Tags: , , , , ,

blog comments powered by Disqus