Checking Yourself


The ABCDE system is a great way to remember the various changes to a potentially cancerous spot or mole:

Asymmetry (unevenness)one side of the spot is different to the other side

Borderthe edges of the spot are irregular, notched, blurred or ragged

Colourthe colour of the spot is inconsistent and may include shades of black, white, brown, blue or red

Diameterthe spot is larger than 6mm across or is increasing in size

Evolution or elevationa flat spot may become raised in a matter of a few weeks or may change in shape or size (enlarge)

Other issues to take note of are spots that have been consistently itchy, have recently appeared and spots that bleed.


When should I check?

Checking your skin for the above changes on a regular basis is vital. Routinely checking yourself thoroughly every 12 weeks for any new or abnormal spots may save your life. An ideal time to conduct a skin check is after a shower.


What do I need?

Adequate lighting, a full length mirror and a hand held mirror to enable you to inspect your back.


How do I check?

The best method of checking yourself is to start with your face and work your way down your body to your feet. Remember to check the back of your body using the hand held mirror. You must also inspect your scalp, under your breasts, armpits, buttocks and genital areas (you can do this by sitting on a chair in front of a mirror). Alternatively, ask your partner or a family member to assist you. Skin cancers can appear anywhere on the body at any time.

When it comes to skin cancer, prevention and early detection is the key, but prevention is better than cure. Make it a rule to consistently apply a high spectrum sunscreen (even when it’s cold and overcast), cover up and check yourself regularly. Routine skin checking ensures peace of mind and the probability of noticing any new or abnormal spots, in which case you will have a greater chance of cure.


What am I looking for?

Any spots that change their appearance such as alter in size, shape or colour.  Also take note of any bump or pimple that will not heal. If left untreated, dry, patchy skin that bleeds or ulcerates may also be cancerous. Spots with smudgy borders, more than one colour (usually black/brown) and asymmetric spots should also be checked by your doctor at first detection. We can teach you how to correctly self-check your skin and what to look for.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us to make an appointment. If it’s a false alarm, well that’s the best news you could hope for.



rainforest          salisbury