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Save Your Skin! Skin Cancer Self-Check Tips

Are you headed to the pool soon? Heading to the park with family and friends? Before you pass on the sunscreen this summer, we want you to have the facts. May is National Skin Cancer Awareness month, and Harbin Clinic Dermatology want you to know the American Academy of Dermatology’s Skin Cancer self-check tips.

First, patients need to know the warning signs of skin cancer. The American Academy of Dermatology has created the “ABCDEs” warning signs of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. To perform a self-check, you must know what to look for before you can check yourself. You’ve “spotted” a problem if you come across one of these:

A – Asymmetry: A skin spot or mole where one half does not look like the other half

B – Border: A skin spot has a border that is unusual or not well-defined

C – Color: A skin spot that is not one solid color

D – Diameter: A skin spot that is larger than a pencil eraser

E – Evolving: A skin spot that has changed size, color, shape, etc.

Now, that you know what to look for, here is the quick 2-step process for a skin self-check. To do a self-examination, you will need a full-length mirror and a hand mirror. Examine your body overall first and then move to small areas of your body.

1) Examine Full Body in Full-Length Mirror: Where do you notice any skin spots?

  • Front of body
  • Back of body
  • Lift arms to check your sides

2) Examine Smaller Areas with a Hand Mirror: Where do you notice any skin spots?

  • Neck & scalp with mirror
  • Bend elbows to check forearms, underarms and palms
  • Look closely at back and bottom with hand mirror
  • Check backs of legs & feet, spaces between toes and soles of feet

Check out these links to learn more about skin cancer and skin cancer screening. See other ways to care for your skin and overall health this summer at

Content updated June 2024

Published May 17, 2022

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