Self-Skin Exam

Most melanomas are discovered by yourself, not the doctor.

Everyone should;

  • Know their skin
  • Self check every three months or so, including areas that do not usually see the sun
  • The key is change; either a new spot or an existing spot changing size, shape or colour. Watch for a lesion that does not heal; also any spots that bleed, itch or are tender.
  • Look for something that “stands out” from the rest of your moles/ freckles
  • Either use a mirror or get someone else to check areas such as the back.

Step 1
Hold your hands with the palms up. Look at your palms and between your fingers for any moles. Mark down any moles or discolorations on your Body Diagram sheet. Look at your forearms then turn over your arms and examine the backs of your hands, fingers, spaces between your fingers (webspace), fingernails and forearms.

Step 2
Stand in front of your full-length mirror. Hold up your arms, bent at the elbows, and view the backs of your forearms and elbows.

Step 3
Using the full length mirror, observe the entire front of your body. Look at your face, neck, chest, groin, and legs.

Step 4
Lift your arms over your head with the palms facing each other. Turn so that your right side is facing the mirror and look at the entire side of your body. Then turn and REPEAT on your left side.

Step 5
With your back toward the mirror, look at your buttocks and the backs of your thighs and lower legs.

Step 6
Using a hand-held mirror and the full-length mirror, view the back of your neck, your back, and your buttocks. Some areas are difficult to see, and it is helpful to have a partner assist you.

Step 7
Using a hand-held mirror and the full-length mirror, view your scalp. Because it is difficult to view the scalp under your hair, use a blow-dryer (on cool setting) to lift the hair and get a better view of your skin below.

Step 8
Sit down and prop your leg up on a stool or chair. Using the hand-held mirror, examine the inside of your leg and groin area, moving the mirror down the leg to your foot. REPEAT on your other leg.

Step 9
Still sitting, cross one leg over the other. Use the hand-held mirror to examine the top of your foot, the toes, toenails and toe webspaces. Then look at the sole of your foot.
REPEAT on your other foot.