How to check your skin for skin cancer

Skin Self Examination

If you have had a basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma or melanoma, you are at an increased risk of developing another.

This information is designed to help you check your skin correctly. This needs to be done routinely at 4-6 weekly intervals.

Some useful tips
  • A good time to examine yourself is after a bath or shower.
  • You may find it helpful to stand in front of a full-length mirror and use a hand mirror to look at the areas which are hard to see.
  • Alternatively, get someone to check your skin for you.

1. Examine your body front and back in the mirror, then left and right sides, arms raised.
2. Bend elbows, look carefully at forearms, back of upper arms and palms.
3. Next, look at backs of legs and feet, spaces between toes, and soles.
4. Examine back of neck and scalp with a hand mirror, part hair and lift.
5. Finally, check back and buttocks with a hand mirror.

What to look for

If you had skin cancer removed, check the area around the scar for signs of recurrence. This can present itself as a new lump, pigmented area or changes in the scar that do not heal within a couple of weeks.

Last updated 2012

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