Identifying skin cancer can start with you

To help in identifying skin cancer I’ll tell you how to perform your own routine self skin exam and I’ll help you to know what to look for in suspicious Moles or other spots of concern on your skin.

Before the skin examination you need to know what to be looking for.

In identifying skin cancer you'll need to know the skin cancer warning signs

Be watching for changes

• Any skin growth or suspicious moles that appear translucent, pearly, multicolored, tan, brown or black and are increasing in size

• Any beauty mark, birthmark, mole or brown spot that is asymmetric (irregular in outline), changes in color, changes in texture, becomes larger or thicker, is bigger than the size of a pencil eraser or appears after the age of 21

• A sore or spot that itches, crusts, hurts, erodes or bleeds

• An open sore that has not healed within 3 weeks

So in identifying skin cancer you basically need to be watching for any changes in existing moles, spots or freckles. Also be aware when something new occurs on your skin like a lump or patch of dry, rough scaly skin.

The dry, rough scaly skin could simply be sun damage, a condition known as actinic keratosis. This is very slow growing, but eventually could develop into squamous cell carcinoma. It can be treated and removed quite successfully by a visit to the dermatologist. There are no surgical procedures involved.

To further familiarize yourself in identifying skin cancer or a Cancerous Mole you should visit the Skin Cancer Warning Signs  and The Five Signs of Skin Cancer.

More that one million people in the US are being diagnosed with skin cancer every year.

If you detect it early, it is the easiest to cure.

Doing your own skin exam is a helpful tool for prevention.

I'll walk you through the steps below, but first look at this short video by the Academy of Dermatology titled Self Skin Exam - How To Do 

How to perform your step by step self-skin exam

You will need:

• A bright light

• A full length mirror and a hand mirror

• 2 stools or chair

• A blow dryer

The best time to be doing this is after a shower. You are aware of your body and already nude.

1. Do a thorough skin exam of your face, especially your nose, lips, mouth and ears, both front and back. Use mirrors as necessary to get a full view.

2. Do a thorough inspection of your scalp. Use the blow dryer and a mirror to expose each section. Have a family member help you, if you can.

3. Very carefully check your palms and backs of your hands. Look between your fingers, under your fingernails and continue up your wrists, looking at your forearms, both front and back.

4. Stand in front of a full length mirror with one arm raised at a time, scanning your elbows and all sides of your upper arms, including the underarms.

5. Focus in your neck, chest and torso. Women should examine under their breasts.

6. Turn your back to the full length mirror and use your hand mirror to fully inspect your back starting with the upper neck, shoulders, upper back and other part of that region which you may not have seen very well in Step 4.

7. Continuing to use both mirrors, scan your lower back, buttocks, and the backs of both legs.

8. Sit down; prop each leg, one at a time, on the other stool or chair. Use the hand mirror to do a skin exam of your genitals. Examine front and sides of both legs, thigh to shin, ankles, tops of feet, between toes and under toenails. Continue to the soles and heels of your feet.

Make notes and take measurements of suspicious moles or spots and any changes or new development.

You can be the one identifying skin cancer or precancerous sun damage or moles before your dermatologist. This raises chances of a successful cure.

Some people become concerned about skin white spots that occur. Generally this is not associated with skin cancer, but does have to do with pigmentation in the skin or a fungus.

When you do see or suspect something, including white spots or patches, see your dermatologist or health professional right away.

Make yourself the first in the process of identifying skin cancer.

For some FREE downloadable tools and information on detecting skin cancer and charts for a self skin exam, Click Here

Links related to Identifying Skin Cancer:
Skin Cancer Warning Signs
Skin Cancer Awareness
Five Signs of Skin Cancer
Stages of Skin Cancer
Actinic Keratosis
Solar Keratosis
Mole Cancers
Cancerous Moles

Go from Identifying Skin Cancer to Prevent Skin Cancer
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Skin Cancer Pictures

Gary's Personal Story

10 Most Frequented Skin Cancer Links

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Our Cancer Stories are so Similar Mine and Gary's -by Valerie
Skin Cancer Warning Signs
Mole Cancers
Skin Cancer Survivor Stories
Five Signs of Skin Cancer
Cancerous Moles
Actual History of Skin Cancer
Types of Skin Cancer
Support Groups for Cancer
Amelanotic Melanoma
Updated July 1, 2015


Hi! My name is Nick and I’m 56 yrs. old and this is part of my story. Let me tell you, I was like a lot of people out there and I had no idea that skin cancer was anything bad. I had Basal cell back in 2007, but that was no big deal and it was removed and that was the end of that. No one told me that it was a type of skin cancer (I looked it up on my computer). But still no big deal, it would not kill me.
But I did know the word "Melanoma"....." --by Nick

Read more of Nick's Story

Scared to Death!!! - by Shelly

Our Cancer Stories are so similar, mine and Gary's! - by Valerie  

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Bottom Line
The Weather Channel has done well posting this information and photos to help you spot skin cancer, including melanoma.
It can be hard to spot, even for a professional.
The bottom line is to get an expert's opinion about any suspicious mole or lesion on your skin. If necessary, get a second opinion  and/or request a biopsy. it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Don’t put your very life at risk!