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Last updated 5 years ago

Although you live in your body every day, it is amazing how much you can miss if you are not looking. The human body can give subtle hints if something is not right.  Our new series is here to offer you steps to follow for different self-exams, as well as what abnormalities to look for.

To start, skin cancer self-examinations are one of the easiest.

What you will need:

  • Well lit room
  • Full length mirror
  • Hand mirror
  • Blow dryer/comb
  • Body map and pencil

Step by Step Self Examination:

  • Examine face - nose, lips, mouth, ears (front and back)
  • Inspect the scalp using the blow dryer or comb and mirror
  • Check your hands – palms and backs, between finders, under fingernails
  • Continue the check up your forearms
  • While in front of the full-length mirror, begin examining your elbows to your upper arms – making sure to look at the underarm
  • Neck, Chest, and Torso – be sure to lift breasts to check underside
  • Use the hand mirror and full-length mirror, to inspect the back of your neck, shoulders, upper back, and the back of your upper arms
  • Still using both mirrors, scan the lower back, buttocks, and back of legs
  • Sit on the chair and prop each leg up on the stool to view the thigh, lower legs, ankles, tops and bottoms of feet, between toes, and under toenails

As you examine your body, take note of moles or freckles that fall in line with the ABCD rule:

  • A – Asymmetry; normal moles or freckles are completely symmetrical, those that are cancerous will not look the same on both sides
  • B – Border; look for a mole or spot with blurry or jagged edges
  • C – Color; a mole that is more than one color should be evaluated by a doctor
  • D – Diameter; if the mole or spot is larger than a pencil eraser it needs to be looked at by a doctor

If any of your moles or freckles show any of these abnormalities, make notes of their location and call your doctor for an appointment.

Stay tuned next week as we explain the best way to perform breast self exams. 

Women’s Hospital Orange County, Orange County Women’s Health, Self-exams, self-checks, skin cancer, skin cancer prevention

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