Fitness and Wellness, Lifestyle

9 Ways to Check for Skin Cancer

Have you seen your dermatologist lately? Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. (almost 5,000,000 people are treated for it every year). One in five of people will get skin cancer during their lifetimes, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. So you might want to reconsider that appointment now.

Even if you have had your annual visit to your dermatologist recently, you cannot skip paying attention to your skin until your visit next year. It’s important to pay attention to the moles on your body year-round since any changes to them could signify skin cancer. Who needs horror movies when you have your skin, right?

If you’re healthy with no history of this disease — and it doesn’t run in your family — try to check yourself at least one time before your next visit. If you’ve had a lot of moles however, you should check yourself two to three times a year in addition to your annual exam.

How can you check yourself for skin cancer?

  1. Get naked.
  2. Make sure you have good lighting.
  3. Go from head to toe, starting at the scalp.
  4. Separate your strands of hair and look closely at your scalp.
  5. Look then to your face, behind your ears, your neck.
  6. Look at your arms and under your arms.
  7. Look closely at your chest, stomach, pelvis and nether regions.
  8. Site and check your feet – including between your toes and under your nails.
  9. Have a friend, family member or significant other look at your back, back of your legs and butt (or anywhere you can’t see yourself).

Pay close attention to your back. That is the number one place people tend to get skin cancer. Of course, nothing compares to having a doctor examine you, but it is always good to be proactive. And of course, if anything looks out of the ordinary, has grown, changed color or shape — make an appointment as soon as you can to have it checked out by a professional.

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Jenna Bensoussan is an entertainment, lifestyle and wellness writer and editor. She served as executive editor for Smart Talk Magazine, associate editor for Counselor Magazine, and continues to serve as contributing editor for ACED Magazine. She has also contributed to newspapers such as the Boynton Times. Bensoussan holds a B.A. in communication and public relations from Florida Atlantic University.