SELF EXAMINATION How to conduct a self examination for melanoma When searching for melanoma you should look for any spots on the skin that are new or changing in size, shape, or color. The ABCDE rule is an easy guide to follow to spot the usual signs of melanoma. Be on the lookout for spots that have any of the following features: A – Asymmetrical Shape Melanoma lesions are often irregular, or not symmetrical, in shape. Benign moles are usually symmetrical. B – Border Typically, non-cancerous moles have smooth, even borders. Melanoma lesions usually have irregular borders that are difficult to define. Look for irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred edges. C – Colour A warning sign of melanoma is the presence of different colours in the lesion. The colour is not the same all over and may include different shades of brown or black but there can also be patches of pink, red, white, or blue. D – Diameter The spot is larger than 6 millimeters across, approximately the size of a pencil eraser. Melanoma can however be found in much smaller lesions. E – Evolution If a mole has gone through recent changes in color, size and shape you should bring it to the attention of a dermatologist immediately. Additional warning signs to look for can be a sore that doesn’t heal, change in sensation such as pain or itchiness, change in the surface of a lesion, spread of pigment from the border of a spot into surrounding skin. IF YOU DETECT ANY WARNING SIGNS YOU SHOULD ALWAYS CONTACT A DERMATOLOGIST. Follow these instructions Skin self-exams are best done in a room with good light in front of a full-length mirror, and preferable with a hand-held mirror. Examine all areas of your body, and follow below guide to make sure that you don’t miss any spots. Friends and family members can also help you with these exams, especially for those hard-to-see areas, such as your scalp and back. Examine body front and back in mirror. Look at your face, ears, neck, chest, and belly. Lift your arms and check the side of your body and armpits. Women will need to lift their breasts to check the skin underneath. Bend elbows, look carefully at forearms, back of upper arms, the top and palms of your hands, don’t forget to look around the fingernail area and between your fingers. Check the front of your thighs, shins, tops of your feet, in between your toes, and your toenails. Use a hand mirror to look at the bottoms of your feet, your calves, and the backs of your thighs. Use the hand mirror to check your buttocks, genital area, lower and upper back, and the back of the neck and ears. IF YOU DETECT ANY WARNING SIGNS YOU SHOULD ALWAYS CONTACT A DERMATOLOGIST.