Why should I examine my skin?

Skin cancer happens as a result of damage from the sun or tanning beds. About one in five people in the United States will get skin cancer. It is important to check your skin to be able to tell if there are any changes. In order to do a skin self-exam, you will need to have a long mirror and a hand-held mirror. Additionally, you should examine yourself in a well-lit location.

You should check your skin—all over your body—about once a month. This means the front side of your body, your face, your scalp, the back side of your body, the tops and bottoms of your feet, and your hands. If you are a woman, you should lift your breasts to be able to see under them. You will need to use the mirrors to check the back side of your body and your genital area.

It is helpful to keep track of whatever kinds of spots you find and where they are located. Some people might use outlines of a body, front and back, to keep track of where the spots are. Others might prefer to take pictures of spots with their phones or cameras. This way you will be able to tell if something has changed over time.

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