In honor of Skin Cancer Awareness Month, let’s talk detection and prevention. The best way to detect skin cancer early is by having an annual skin screening with your dermatologist. The next best thing is to perform regular self-exams. We’ve enlisted the help of melanoma survivor, TiZO advocate, and dear friend Meghan Rothschild to help us out! Here are her top three tips to perform an at-home skin exam:
1. You’ll want to look for the ABCDEs of melanoma. To do this, look for any moles on your body that are Asymmetrical, have Border irregularity, or have irregular Color variations. You also want to look out for the Diameter of the mole. If you see anything larger than a pencil eraser, you should alert your dermatologist right away. Lastly, you want to look out for any Evolution, which means the spot is changing shape, color, elevation, another trait, or another symptom (potentially itchiness or burning).
2. To get the most out of your self-exam, you want to check EVERYWHERE! That means even the places that don’t typically see the sun. Some of the most common places to develop skin cancer are your nose, ears, lips, neck, chest, arms, and legs. And believe it or not, you’re even going to want to check the bottom of your feet. One of the best ways to check those hard-to-see places, like the back of your legs, is by using a mirror.
3. For those even harder-to-see areas, like your back, the back of your neck, or your scalp, ask a friend or loved one to check those areas. Pro tip: ask your hairdresser to check your scalp at your next appointment!
In addition to early detection, stay mindful of the best ways to help prevent skin cancer. Of course, at the top of that list is wearing a broad-spectrum SPF every single day. You can also limit your sun exposure between 10am and 2pm when UV rays are the strongest, wear protective clothing, and seek shade whenever possible. However, even when taking all these precautions, there’s still a chance that you could develop skin cancer. We know this sounds scary, but it's not all bad news!
Skin cancer can be removed with little to no scarring when detected in the beginning stages. And melanoma has a 99% survival rate if caught early on. Basically, early detection is key. Remember to get your yearly checkup with your dermatologist and use these tips to keep an eye on your skin at home.