Definition of Skin Self-Examination

skin self examination

Skin Self-Examination is a method for early detection of suspicious and possibly cancerous lesions on the skin.

Health experts recommend skin selfexamination monthly for adults.

Skin Self-Exam

Doing skin selfexamination takes 5 to 10 minutes and requires privacy to fully undress, a full-length mirror, and a handheld mirror. Many people find it convenient to do a skin self-examination before or after bathing or showering. Use the mirrors to visualize and examine the entire skin surface including the bottoms of the feet and the genitals. A handheld hair dryer may help to examine the scalp.

Look for skin blemishes and moles, and compare them to the ABCD skin cancer screening characteristics for malignant melanoma. After doing several skin self-examinations, most people are familiar with their usual lesions and blemishes and can quickly identify any changes that have taken place since the previous self-exam. A dermatologist should evaluate any suspicious findings.

ABCD Skin Examination
CharacteristicNormalSuspicious
A asymmetrymatching halves (symmetrical)unequal or nonmatching halves (asymmetrical)
B bordersmooth, even edgesragged, notched, or otherwise uneven edges
C colorsingle shade of brownvaried shades of brown; multiple colors
D diameterless than one quarter inchlarger than one quarter inch

See also ACTINIC KERATOSISLESIONSEBORRHEIC KERATOSIS.

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