While you may think only fair-skinned people or those with freckles and moles are at risk of developing skin cancer, it can affect anybody. Skin cancer becomes apparent through changes in or on the skin, and can be detected early if you know what to look for. Do regular, thorough mole checks -- at least once a month -- at home and report any changes to your dermatologist.
Check your moles and skin right after a shower or bath. Use a large mirror and a hand mirror to help you check areas like the back of your neck. Look at every area of your body. This includes any parts of your body that are not regularly exposed to the sun such as your feet, underarms, palms and between your toes. Skin cancer does appear on parts of the body that have not had sun exposure.
Take note of all your moles. You may want to draw a simple outline of your body and mark the moles on the paper. Note the approximate size, color and condition of each mole.
Take photos of your moles, especially any that have a diameter larger than the end of a pencil. Also take photos of new moles and moles that are dark or shiny. Make sure the date on your camera is correct or the date is included in the photo -- this will help you and your doctor keep track of any changes in your moles.
Examine your moles monthly and look for any changes. Moles that change color, size or texture should be looked at by a dermatologist or other skin professional. Moles that bleed, have multiple colors or irregular borders also require immediate attention. New, very dark moles on skin that does not get sun exposure such as palms, the bottom of feet or between toes require immediate medical attention.
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