What is the Best Way to Do a Skin Self-Exam?

Massena Memorial Hospital offers Free Skin Tumor/Lesion Clinic

A deep tan used to be a sign of good health. Now we know that too much sun can lead to skin cancer. It may appear as a new growth, or as a change in size, shape, or color of an existing mole. A doctor should check any changes in your skin.
Early diagnosis can make all the difference that is why Rosalind Mariano, M.D., Sanjay Shah, M.D., and Jose Mejia, M.D., General Surgeons and Massena Memorial Hospital are offering a monthly free screening clinic. Dr. Marino, Dr. Shah and Dr. Mejia offer the Skin Tumor/Lesion Detection Clinic on the third Tuesday of the month, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. in the MMH Surgical Group office at 181 Maple Street, Suite B (located in the MMH Medical Office Building across from the hospital.)  The next three clinics will be Tuesday, July 15, August 19 and September 16. This clinic is free to all and all ages welcome. For an appointment or more information, please call MMH Surgical Group’s office at (315)769-4656. This free clinic is co-sponsored by the St. Lawrence County Cancer Fund Inc.
According to the experts, skin cancers are usually curable if found and treated in the earliest stages. In addition, you can improve your chances of detecting skin cancers by performing a skin self-exam every month.
What to Look For
While skin cancer can be found anywhere on the body, it most often develops on the head, face, neck, hands, legs, arms and back. Skin cancer can appear as a:

  • Reddened lump
  • Small, smooth, shiny, pale, or waxy bump
  • Flat, red spot that is rough, dry, or scaly.
  • The most lethal form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma, usually begins in a mole. When examining moles, look for the “ABCDs” of malignant melanoma:
  • Asymmetrical shape, meaning that one side of the mole does not match the other side
  • Borders those are irregular, uneven, or ragged
  • Color that varies from one area to another
  • Diameter larger than six millimeters, or bigger than the standard eraser on the end of a pencil

How to Check Your Skin, now that you know what to look for, here is how to examine your skin:

  • Stand in front of a wall mirror in a well-lighted room, just after a shower or bath.
  • Examine your face, neck, chest, arms, hands, stomach, and genital area.
  • Uses a hand mirror to help you better see your buttocks and upper back in the full mirror reflection.
  • Sit down to examine your legs, the tops and soles of your feet, and in between your toes. Use the hand mirror to check the backs of your legs.

The General Surgeons encourage if you notice anything questionable, see your doctor, or make an appointment at the free screening clinic.
Regular professional skin exams are important, too. Based on your personal risk factors and family history, your doctor can help you decide how often you should be checked. For an appointment at the July 15, August 19 and September 16 free skin clinics or more information about the free skin screening, please call, MMH Surgical Group at (315)769-4656.  This free clinic is co-sponsored by the St. Lawrence County Cancer Fund Inc.


February 2017

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