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  • Writer's pictureMCMC


Regular skin self-exams are especially

important for people who are at higher risk of

skin cancer, such as people with reduced

immunity, people who have had skin cancer

before, and people with a strong family history

of skin cancer. Talk to your doctor about how

often you should examine your skin. Follow the

steps below to do a self-exam. FACING THE MIRROR Check your face, ears, neck, chest, and

belly. Women will need to lift their

breasts to check the skin underneath.

Check your underarm areas, both sides

of your arms, the tops and palms of

your hands, in between your fingers,

and under your fingernails. SITTING DOWN Check the front of your thighs, shins,

tops of your feet, in between your toes,

and under your toenails.

Now use a hand mirror to look at the

bottoms of your feet, your calves, and

the backs of your thighs, first checking

one leg and then the other. SITTING DOWN Use the hand mirror to check your

buttocks, genital area, lower and upper

back, and the back of your neck and

ears. Or it may be easier to look at your

back in the wall mirror using a hand


Use a comb or hair dryer to part your

hair so that you can check your scalp. TIMING IS IMPORTANT The best time to do a skin self-exam is after a bath or

shower. Check any moles, blemishes, or birthmarks

from the top of your head to your toes. If you look at

your skin regularly, you will know what’s normal for you.

Not all skin cancers look the same. In fact, skin cancers

can show up in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes they

might even look like other skin conditions. Many skin

cancers are more common on parts of the body that

tend to get more sun, such as the face, head, neck, and

arms. But skin cancers can occur anywhere on the body.

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