The truth is that anyone can get skin cancer. Male, female, light skin, dark skin, old skin, young skin. It truly does not discriminate. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology estimates that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. However, when it is caught early, skin cancer is very treatable.
In this blog, we’re providing a clear outline of how you can complete a self-examination skin cancer screening at home. However, this self-examination should not replace your annual visits to Dr. Perri. Board-certified dermatologists are qualified to identify all types of skin cancers in a safe, comfortable environment, which is why you should have one check your skin on a regular basis.
If, after you complete your self-examination skin cancer screening, you notice any moles that look irregular, new, or just plain odd, call Dr. Perri to make an appointment right away.
How to Perform a Self-Examination Skin Cancer Screening at Home
While everyone should take time to perform a self-examination skin cancer screening at home every month, it is especially vital for people with reduced immunity, people who have had skin cancer in the past, and people with a family history of skin cancer to be sure they regularly check their skin for any skin abnormalities.
Before you begin, be sure you are in a room that is well lit and that you have a mirror handy. Additionally, if you have someone who can help you during the self-examination, that would be even better.
- Start by examining your face – carefully look at your nose, lips, mouth, and ears. Make a note on a piece of paper if you see any abnormalities.
- Next, examine your scalp – this is where a friend or family member would come in handy as it is virtually impossible to see every area of your scalp, even with a handheld mirror. Section off your hair in fine strips to closely look at the skin of your scalp. Take note of any moles or discolorations you see.
- Examine your hands next – during your skin cancer screening, be sure to check both your palms and the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your fingernails. Also, examine your wrists in their entirety.
- Examine your arms – a full-length mirror will be helpful as you scan your arms. Continue up from your wrists and examine your forearms, elbows, and upper arms. Remember, look around your arms, not just on top or bottom. Don’t forget to check your underarm area either.
- Examine your torso – look at your neck, chest, and torso. Females should be sure to lift the breasts and look in the folds for any abnormal skin markings or moles.
- Next, examine your upper back – as you continue your self-examination skin cancer screening, be sure to fully examine your entire back. Using a full-length mirror, or the help of a spouse, scan every inch and take note of any abnormalities you see.
- Examine your buttocks and thighs – next, move on and examine your buttocks and the backs of your thighs. A spouse or partner will be helpful in this area as well, or you can use handheld and full-length mirrors.
- Examine the rest of your legs and feet – this next step of your skin cancer screening is best done from a sitting position, propping up one leg at a time on a chair, stool, or ledge. Examine the front and sides of both of your legs—all the way up to the groin. Then move to your feet. Look between your toes, at the tops of your feet, the bottoms of your feet, and under your toenails.
Visit Dr. Perri for an Annual Skin Cancer Screening
While everyone should be sure to perform skin cancer screenings at home on a regular basis, you should still visit Dr. Perri annually for a professional skin cancer screening.
To book an appointment, call a member of his friendly team at (281) 943-2749.