Skin cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer in the United States, with over two million new diagnoses every year. In fact, skin cancers account for more than half of all cancer cases in the U.S. according to the American Cancer Society . Although many men and women are at an increased risk for this condition due to excessive sun exposure or past sunburn, there are steps that can be taken to detect skin cancer in its most treatable stages. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends regular self-exams of the skin to catch this potentially deadly disease as early as possible.
To perform a skin self-exam, follow these steps:
- Download the American Academy of Dermatology body mole map to document any moles that you may find and to learn more about what you may be looking for.
- First, step in front of a large mirror in a well-lit room. Check the bare skin of your front and back for any abnormal spots or moles. Raise your arms to check your right and left sides.
- Then, bend your elbow so that you can examine your palm, hand, forearm, upper arm, and underarm in detail. Repeat for the opposite side.
- Sit on the floor. Carefully examine your feet, toes, and the skin in between the toes. Also check the soles of your feet for any abnormalities.
- Next, use a mirror to see the skin of your back and neck. It is also important to check the scalp for any signs of skin cancer—you may need to part your hair for a better look.
- Finally, use your mirror to check your lower back and buttocks.
When looking for skin abnormalities, follow the American Academy of Dermatology’s ABCDE’s of melanoma. Any moles or discolorations with asymmetry , an irregular border , varied colors , large diameter , or that evolve in their shape and size may actually be a cancerous growth.
Join us for “Lunch & Learn with Dr. Wolf Samlowski” on June 19th, 2012 at 11:30 a.m. to learn about the prevention of and managing melanoma and other cancers. For more information about this event, check out Southern Hills Hospital Events or call (702)880-2700 to register. If you have any further questions about skin self-exams or if you are interested in seeing a cancer specialist in the Las Vegas area, contact Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center at (702) 880-2100.