Self Skin Examination – Part Two

Last week we introduced the need for, as well as the recommendation for monthly self skin-examinations by the American Academy of Dermatology (“AAD”).  Today I want to mention what you need to be looking for when performing these regular exams.


As you or your partner examines your skin, look for changes in the size, color, shape, or texture of any marks on your skin.

Signs of skin cancer include a:


  • mole that appears different, itches, bleeds, or is changing in any way
  • sore that never heals
  • brown or black streak underneath a nail
  • fast growing lesion anywhere on the skin


Be sure to notify your Dermatologist if you notice any of the above changes with your skin.  And, keep in mind the ABCDEs of melanoma detection…they include:


  • “A” for Asymmetry: Does one half of a mole look different from the other?
  • “B” for Border: Is the edge (border) of the mole ragged, notched, or blurred?
  • “C” for Color: Does the mole have a variety of hues or colors within the same lesion?
  • “D” for Diameter: Is the mole wider than the width of a pencil eraser?
  • “E” for Evolving: Does the mole or skin lesion look different from your other moles or has it changed in shape color, size or other trait?


The objective for self skin exams is to identify lesions that are different or show a change from previous exams.

BY: Kirk D. Saddler, M.D.

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