The ABCDE guide is a useful tool for spotting melanoma, although there can be varying signs and there are other types of skin cancer.
Unexpected changes on your skin which do not quickly go away deserve a professional check. Before that stage, you are in the best position to watch for signs and this only takes a few minutes each month.
Skin cancers often develop on areas with higher sun exposure, such as the the scalp, face, chest, arms and hands, or on the legs in women. This is however not the full story and monitoring less visible places is critical.
Find a well lit room, preferably with a full length mirror, hand mirror and comb, or brush to part your hair. Assistance from a partner is useful, although you can check your own skin.
Knowing how to do this and making the effort is a great way to ensure skin cancers are found and treated at an early stage.
Your Facial Area
Alongside main skin areas, check your nose, lips and eyelids. The mirrors can help you to inspect a rear view, including your neck and behind the ears.
Scalp & Hairline
The comb, or brush and mirror will help you to inspect your scalp closely. A common place for issues, not least on the hairline, or places with hair loss.
Armpits To Wrists
Start at your armpits and work down, along the elbow area right down to your hands, Look at palms, in between fingers and for signs under nails.
Back Of Your Arms
The rear of your arms and shoulders are often high sun exposure areas, yet hard to see. Use the mirrors to ensure a thorough inspection.
Chest To Groin
Check from the neck right down to your groin area, not all skin cancers occur in obvious places. Women should lift their breasts, to see underneath.
Back Of Your Body
The full height mirror can give a complete view of your back, visible in the hand mirror. Check from your neck all the way down to the lower back.
Legs & Buttocks
Continue with the mirrors to check the rear of your legs and buttocks. Repeat on the front of your legs, down to your toes, nails and the soles of feet.
Feeling your skin as you go will help, especially in less accessible places. Touch can be a great way to pick up variations on the surface of your skin.
The whole process really won’t take long and at monthly intervals, is a valuable addition to an annual skin check with a dermatologist. Both will bring any issues to the fore at an early stage, when skin cancer treatment is less invasive and more successful.