What to look for during a skin cancer self-exam

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Summer is the time we spend hours outdoors enjoying the warm weather, but months in the sun increases our risk of skin cancer.

24 Hour News 8 talked with Priority Health’s Chief Medical Officer James Forshee about how to identify potential skin problems at before it becomes cancerous.

Forshee recommended everyone to do an at home skin cancer self-exam once a month.

“It’s really a fairly simple process, standing in front of the mirror without your clothes on, just starting at the top inside your hair, your ears, inside of your neck, the folds under your arms, the back of your arms,” said Forshee. “You need to use a mirror sometimes to see your back a little bit better, same thing in your genital area. You need to examine, move things around, get a good look make sure that you don’t see something new or something changing or different.” 

Forshee said an easy way to know what to look for can be done by using a mnemonic device A, B, C, D, E. 

A stands for asymmetry. Check if a mole, freckle or sun spot looks larger on one side, compared to the other.

B stands for borders. Look for more that are irregular or extending beyond a previous border.

C stands for color. Check if the color has changed or if the color is uneven.

D stands for diameter. See if the mole is expanding or changing.

E stands for evolving. Does the mole bleed or itch? 

“Skin cancer can affect all ages. We are finding more and more women under 40 who are developing cancers and so these diseases are now are affecting people of an earlier age,” said Forshee. 

Forshee said if you answer “yes” to any of the items on what to look for, it’s best to get it checked out by a physician. 

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