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Skin Cancer, Preventative Tips

Practical tips for DIY skin cancer screenings

How to check your skin for skin cancer or melanoma signs

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Team MoleMap Creator
Posted 24/01/13

It is recommended that you check your body for suspicious moles every month. This is one of the skin cancer preventive measures which people of all ages should adopt. Use some helpful advice on how to make the screenings more efficient.

Skin Cancer Screening: Following the Established Rules 

The ABCDE system for detecting suspicious moles is effective and fairly easy to follow. You just need to have an idea of how it works. Asymmetry is typical for cancerous moles. One half of the mole is not the same as the other. Most dangerous skin cancer growths are totally asymmetric so this symptom should be easy to spot. The borders of melanoma cancer moles are irregular. They are not perfectly round or oval. The edges are rough. C is for colour which is uneven. An abnormal mole typically has at least three colours which are most often tan, brown and pink. Use a ruler or a pencil to get an idea about the diameter. Skin cancer moles are typically bigger than 5 mm in diameter. When you put a pencil over the growth, it is bigger than the eraser. Evolving moles are certainly suspicious. They change their size, shape and colour over time. A dangerous growth may become bigger or smaller. If a mole is shrinking it should certainly be checked by a doctor. Keep in mind that a mole which meets at least three of the above-mentioned criteria is also considered suspicious. It pays to note its presence and mention this possible skin cancer risk to your doctor. You may want to avoid using pictures when evaluating suspicious moles. This is because you may get confused if your mole does not look like the one on the picture.

Skin Cancer Screening: Checking Everywhere

Check all the part of the body which you can see starting from the arms and torso and going all the way down to the toes. Examine the area under your armpits, the pubic are and the genitals for strange growths. Look between your fingers and toes too. Do not miss to check your soles. Use a larger mirror and a smaller one to check for skin cancer growths on the neck, back and buttocks Use the help of someone you know to examine your head. It's important to immediately tell your doctor about abnormal growths on your skin. In general, the DIY screenings must not be used as replacement for dermatological screenings. The latter have to be carried out once a year or more frequently for people who are at greater risk of skin cancer.

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