Screening Guide Skin Self-Examination Skin cancer can be treated with more success if it’s found early. The way to find skin cancer early is with regular skin exams. This means having a health care provider check your skin. And it also means checking your skin at home regularly. Getting regular skin exams Skin exams are important for everyone. Talk with your health care provider about how often you need a skin exam. You may need one more often if you have an increased risk of skin cancer. You have an increased risk if you have had skin cancer before, have a family history of skin cancer, or have a weakened immune system. Your doctor can check you for signs of skin cancer as part of your regular health exams. Or you can see a dermatologist. This is a doctor who specializes in diseases of the skin. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) also provides free skin exams at certain times of the year. Doctors who are part of this program do not make a diagnosis, but can tell you if you should see a dermatologist. Visit the AAD website, or call your local health department to find a doctor who will be offering free skin exams. Checking your skin at home Skin self-exams are very important if you’re at risk for skin cancer. Get to know the pattern of moles, blemishes, freckles, and other marks on your skin. Any new moles or changes in existing moles should be checked by your health care provider right away. The best time to do a skin self-exam is after a shower or bath. It’s important to look for changes when you do the self-exam. Do the exam the same way each time. This is so you don’t miss any part of your body. If needed, ask someone for help when checking your skin. This can help with hard-to-see areas like your back and scalp. Check your skin in a room with a lot of light. Use both a full-length mirror and a hand-held mirror, so that you can see your while body. Look at the front and back of your body in the mirror. Raise your arms and look at your left and right sides. Women should look under their breasts. Examine the back and front of your legs. Also look between your buttocks and at your genital area. Check the fronts and backs of your hands and forearms carefully, this includes between the fingers and under the fingernails. Sit down and closely examine your feet. This includes the soles and the spaces between your toes. Also examine the nail bed of each toe. Look at your face, neck and scalp. You may want to use a comb or blow-dryer to move your hair as you look, so you can see your scalp more clearly. Primary care doctors and dermatologists play a critical role in the early detection of skin cancer. To make an appointment call 1-800-INSPIRA Since skin cancer being a largely preventable disease there are several things you can be doing to protect yourself. The Slip, Slop, Slap, and Wrap method will help you limit your sun exposure. Slip on a shirt, Slop on some sunscreen, Slap on a hat, and Wrap on some sunglasses to protect your eyes. Dr. Nandini Kulkarni, Inspira’s Director of Surgical Oncology, explains how to best protect yourself in our informative video below.