Early detection of skin cancer is important and can be lifesaving, especially for certain types of skin cancer such as melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma. It is estimated that 76,380 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in 2016 and over 13,000 will die from the skin cancer. Given that timing is so crucial to diagnosing and treating skin cancer, you should follow a few simple steps to learn how to detect skin cancer on your skin.
1. Examining Yourself for Skin Cancer
Perform a skin survey.
The best way to check yourself for skin cancer is to do a self-examination, or survey. When performing your skin survey, choose a particular day during the month and note it on the calendar. Evaluate each area of your skin, leaving no part unseen. After you look at all the easily seen areas, use a mirror to evaluate the genitals, the anal area, between the toes, your back, and any other hard to see area. It may be helpful to have an image of a body chart and check off areas as you check them on yourself, as well as make note of any moles or markings you find.
- For examining your scalp, enlist the help of a friend, partner, or spouse. Part your hair in small sections looking and feeling for erosions, scales, or discolored lesions.
- With the advent of tanning booths and full-body tans, you can end up with skin cancer on the vulva and penis. Take your skin survey seriously and leave no surface unexamined. The best way to adequately perform this survey is to know what each different kind of skin cancer looks like.