Skin Cancer Screening

Skin cancer screenings are the most effective way to prevent skin cancer and catch it early. Routinely screening for skin cancer can save your life. A skin cancer screening involves a head-to-toe skin exam. A doctor will make note of all skin markings or spots that need watching or further examination. If you’ve noted any concerning spots on your skin, it is important to discuss them with your doctor.

Skin cancer screenings are important for catching cancer early, when it’s more easily treatable, than when it has advanced into later stages.

Skin Cancer Detection

Although certain groups have an increased melanoma risk, skin cancer can strike anyone. “It’s important to educate yourself about skin cancer, no matter how many moles you have,” Dr. Kim says. “All skin cancers, including melanoma, are most treatable when they’re detected early, so it’s important to be aware of warning signs on your skin.”

Self Monitoring of Moles

The Academy recommends conducting regular self-exams to check the skin for suspicious spots, including any moles that exhibit any of the ABCDEs of melanoma:

  • Asymmetry: One half of the mole is unlike the other.
  • Border: The mole’s border is irregular, scalloped or poorly defined
  • Color: The color of the mole varies from one area to another.
  • Diameter: The mole’s diameter is larger than 6 mm (the size of a pencil eraser).
  • Evolving: The mole’s size, shape or color changes over time.

In addition to the ABCDEs, it’s important to keep an eye out for any spots on your skin that appear different from the others, or anything changing, itching or bleeding. “Watch for ‘ugly duckling’ skin lesions that look out of place, whether they are dark-colored, or pink or skin-colored,” Dr. Kim says. “Any unusual or changing lesion should be examined by a board-certified dermatologist.”