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How to Spot Skin Cancer

The Skin Cancer Foundation is an excellent resource for learning more about a dangerous form of cancer. Explore their site to your hearts content.

Coupled with a yearly skin exam by a doctor, self-examination of your skin once a month is the best way to detect the early warning signs of basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma, the three main types of skin cancer. Look for a new growth or any skin change.

What you'll need: a bright light; a full-length mirror; a hand mirror; two chairs or stools; a blow-dryer.
  • Examine head and face, using one or both mirrors. Use blow-dryer to inspect scalp.
  • Check hands, including nails. In full-length mirror, examine elbows, arms, underarms.
  • Focus on neck, chest, torso. Women: Check under breasts.
  • With back to the mirror, use hand mirror to inspect back of neck, shoulders, upper arms, back, buttocks, legs.
  • Sitting down, check legs and feet, including soles, heels, and nails. Use hand mirror to examine genitals.

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