Skin cancer screening is something that should be done regularly. Although melanoma is more likely to metastasize, or spread, than nonmelanoma skin cancers, metastasis is still possible, and any cancer is easier to treat in its earlier stages.
Every month, perform a self-examination – this is the best way to become familiar with your body and know what is and is not normal for you. A good time to do this is after a bath or shower – use a full-length mirror along with a hand-held mirror to perform your own skin cancer screening, checking your entire body for new moles, bumps, patches that are red and flaky, or sores that aren’t healing. Also look for moles that have changed in size, shape, color or texture. As you perform your self-exam screening, be sure to thoroughly check:
- Your face, neck (front and back), ears, chest and stomach
- Your scalp (using a comb or hair dryer may make this easier)
- Both of your arms and underarms, as well as your hands (tops and palms), fingernails and in between your fingers
- The front and back of your thighs
- Your shins and calves
- Your feet (tops and bottoms), toenails and in between your toes
- Your back
- Your buttocks and genital area
In addition to doing monthly self-examinations, it’s important to see a dermatologist or skin cancer specialist annually for a professional skin cancer screening. Moffitt Cancer Center’s Mole Patrol® was established in 1995 to provide screening, educational materials and sunscreen samples to the public, free of charge. The Mole Patrol® consists of an expert team of physicians and mid-level practitioners specializing in dermatology and/or skin cancer, as well as registered nurses and support staff. This mobile skin cancer screening program travels to venues all around Florida, including the Pier 60 Pavilion on Clearwater Beach, Tropicana Field and MacDill Air Force Base. If a suspicious skin lesion is found by Mole Patrol®, the individual receives follow-up recommendations that he or she is then free to take to a primary care physician, one of the program’s participating affiliate institutions or Moffitt Cancer Center.
To learn more about skin cancer screening, contact Moffitt Cancer Center today by calling 1-888-MOFFITT or filling out a new patient request form online. No referral is needed to visit Moffitt Cancer Center.