Skin cancer diagnoses are an unfortunate reality for far too many people. Luckily, prompt treatment of the cancers can help you avoid the unpleasant consequences that can occur if skin abnormalities go unnoticed for too long. Dr. Vernon Mackey, your Peoria, AZ dermatologist, explains how you can check yourself for skin cancer.
Make a foot-to-head exam part of your routine
It can be hard to determine exactly when a new spot appeared on your skin or a mole changed its appearance unless you perform a monthly skin cancer screening. Examining your self is easy and just requires a mirror. Follow these steps from your Peoria dermatologist to conduct your own examination:
- Start at the Top: Examine your face for any possible signs of skin cancer, such as new lumps or growths that don't go away, patches of skin that are scaly or red, or moles that change color, shape or texture. Pull your hair back from your head and examine the skin of your head and neck carefully. Use a mirror to look at the back of your neck and scalp.
- Don't Miss a Spot: Work your way down your body, making sure to focus on every inch of skin. Bend your arms to take a look at the back of your forearms. Spread your fingers and examine the skin between your fingers. Use a mirror again to examine your back and buttocks. Don't skip skin folds. You never know when skin cancer may be lurking in one of an out-of-the-way areas.
- Finish Your Exam: Examine your legs and feet, but don't forget to glance at the back of your knees and the area between your toes.
A few tips to make the process easier
- Partner Up: Your spouse or partner can help you make sure you don't miss any of those spots that are hard to see. After they help you conduct your exam, you can return the favor.
- Take a Selfie: Although you probably won't want to share these selfies with anyone, comparing photographs can help you spot changes in your skin more easily.
- Make a Date: You'll never forget to perform your skin cancer exam if you schedule it for the same day every month.
Are you concerned about a new spot or a changing mole? Call Dr. Mackey, your Peoria, AZ dermatologist, at (623) 977-6700 to schedule an appointment.