Give Yourself a Skin-Cancer Checkup
By Robin Westen
If skin cancer is recognized and treated early, it is almost always curable. But according to a national poll, only 22 percent of women say they check themselves the recommended once a month, while almost half say they never examine themselves at all for signs of basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Doing a self check-up before going to the doctor for your annual skin can save your life -- and it's easy to do. Here's a step-by-step guide recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation.
Look for New Moles..
...or any familiar one that appears different from the others. Pay attention to the "ABCDEs" of cancerous moles: asymmetry, border irregularity, color that's uneven, diameters bigger than 6 millimeters, and evolution, meaning the mole has changed in any way.
Click through for more tips
To comment, click here.
Look In The Usual Areas Examine your body all over, paying special attention to your legs, the most common site for melanoma in women, plus areas exposed to the sun, like face, hands, shoulders and ears—some of the most common danger zones. (Use a mirror for your back, or ask your partner for help.)
Look In The Unusual Areas Check out your genital area and your scalp for any unusual spots.
Take Notes Even if you don't find anything, you now have a baseline sense of the moles on your body; moving forward, you will know when a new one pops up or an old one changes.
Make The Call If you find anything suspicious, call your doctor, who will refer you to a dermatologist..
To comment, click here. About the Author
Robin Westen is ThirdAge's Medical Director. Check for her daily updates. Her most recent book, co-authored with Dr. Alyssa Dweck, is "V is for Vagina."