As Fall weather begins to arrive and we start to spend less time in the sun here in Augusta, we want to take a moment to remind our patients to take a moment to perform a skin self-exam. Detection is key when it comes to skin cancer; most forms of skin cancer are easily treated when caught early. However, the American Academy of Dermatology Association estimates that 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. By taking the time to examine your body for questionable spots on your skin, you could be catching early stages of melanoma.
The main thing to look for when performing your skin self-exam is spots that appear different from others, or that have changed over time, itch or bleed.
How to Perform a Skin Self-Examination:
- Front and Sides – Using a full length mirror, examine your body with your arms raised. Turn to the right side and examine your body from top to bottom, then repeat the same on the left side.
- Underarms, Forearms, and Palms – Look at your underarms, forearms, and palms. Bend your elbows and carefully examine with arms folded and unfolded.
- Legs, Feet, and Toes – Examine your legs, feet and toes by looking at the front and back of your legs, tops and bottoms of toes, in-between your toes, and at the soles of your feet. You may need to sit down to do this properly.
- Neck and Scalp – Using a hand mirror, examine your neck and scalp. Move aside long hair and examine the back of your neck using the hand mirror. Then examine your scalp by parting your hair in different directions for a closer look at skin.
- Back and Buttocks – Using the hand mirror again, examine your back and buttocks.
If you notice any questionable freckles, moles, or other questionable spots/marks on your skin, schedule an appointment with your board-certified dermatologist. Savannah River Dermatology is located at 575 Furys Ferry Rd in Augusta, Ga. Our office can be reached at 706-691-7079.