Over the past 30 years, the number of new cases of melanoma has been increasing by 2.7% every year. This is one of the most common types of cancer and the deadliest of all skin cancers. It is curable if it is diagnosed early, however. The self-exams are among the main methods for prevention and early detection. Find out how to carry out such exams.
What to Look for
The malignant growths are similar to benign moles. That is why they may remain unrecognised for a long time. However, if you know what to look for, you can detect suspicious growths as soon as they appear with melanoma self-exams.
The malignant growths are typically asymmetric. The two halves are different. The suspicious moles have irregular borders and two or more colours, which can range from pale pink to very dark black. These moles are usually larger than 6 mm in diameter. They may one or more smaller moles around them. These are often referred to as satellites.
How to Prepare
Now that you know what to look for during the melanoma self-checks, you need the appropriate tools to do it. You will need a bigger mirror and a small one two. Since the standard pencil eraser is 6 mm in diameter, you should use one for measuring the size of your moles instead of a ruler. You will need a comb and a hair dryer for examining your head. However, things will be a lot easier if you get a close person to do it.
You need to examine your body from head to toe. Since the head is the hardest part of the body to examine, you should start with your feet. Look at your soles and between your toes as well. Examine carefully the toe nails for any darker spots underneath them.
Use the small mirror to examine the back of your legs. Examine the inner sides of your thighs as well. You will need the small mirror for examining your genital area as well. Use both the big and the small mirror to check your back, neck and buttocks. Look closely under the armpits. Again, the small mirror is the tool which can assist you perfectly.
You should sit in font of the big mirror and use the blow dryer and the comb to get a clear visibility of your scalp. When you examine your head, you must pay close attention to the hair line, to the area around the ears and to the ears themselves. Look inside your nose and inside your mouth as well using the small mirror.
Finally, you should report any suspicious moles immediately after the melanoma self-exam.