Spotting changes in current moles and/or developing lesions early on can help prevent the development and spread of skin cancer. It is important to know what to look for and how to look for it when dealing with early skin cancer detection.
What to Look For
Every month, inspect your entire body for any skin changes and routinely visit your dermatologist for a complete skin examination. Early detection of melanoma can be lifesaving because this cancer may be curable in its early stages. Any irregularity in an existing or newly developed pigmented skin lesion could be a sign of melanoma and should be examined immediately by your dermatologist.
These irregularities may include asymmetry, an uneven border, color variations, diameter of more than 6 mm or evolving changes in the lesion — all of these irregularities are covered in the ABCDEs of melanoma. If you notice any of the following irregularities in current skin lesions, see a dermatologist immediately.
The ABCDEs of Melanoma
One half does not match the other half
The edges are notched or ragged
Varied shades of tan, black and brown
Greater than 6 millimeters (about a quarter of an inch)
New and/or significant change in shape, size or color, or any symptom like bleeding, itching, or tenderness
How to Inspect Your Skin
Examine your body front and back in the mirror, then right and left sides, arms raised.
Bend elbows and look carefully at forearms and upper arms and palms.
Look at the backs of legs and feet, spaces between toes and soles.
Examine back of neck and scalp with a hand mirror. Part hair for a closer look at scalp.
Finally, check back and buttocks with a hand mirror.