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If a laboratory test reveals that an area of the skin is cancerous, the dermatologist has an array of procedures to choose from, depending on the patient’s needs.

In the treatment of any of the skin cancers, including melanoma, early detection and removal is the best defense. Dermatologists recommend that the best way to guard against melanoma/skin cancer is to do a monthly self-examination. Get familiar with your skin and your pattern of moles, freckles and “beauty marks.” Be alert to changes in the number, size, and shape and color of pigmented areas. If any changes are noticed call your dermatologist.

Monthly Self-Exam

If a lesion develops, it’s almost always curable if caught in the early stages. To catch lesions early, it’s important to regularly do a self-examination.

Here’s a suggested self-examination method to make sure no area of your body is neglected.

What you need

  • Full-length mirror
  • Hand mirror
  • Brightly lit room where you can study your skin in privacy

Steps to take

  1. Examine your body front and back in the mirror, then right and left sides, arms raised.
  2. Bend elbows and look carefully at forearms and under arms and palms.
  3. Next, look at the backs of the legs and feet – spaces between toes and soles.
  4. Examine back of neck and scalp with the help of a hand mirror, part hair (or use hair dryer) to lift and give you a close look.
  5. Finally check back and buttocks with hand-mirror.