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Check Your Spots Know Your ABCDEs for Skin Cancer

maciej-serafinowicz-BC49M6wl--8-unsplash check your spots

Last updated 06/11/2022

Ah, you didn’t know you have spots? Not only do you lose collagen with age but you gain these growths and lesions. Check your spots.

Here in the Midwest May usually means the weather gets warmer. So, you want to put on that pretty sundress and partake of outdoor activities. That is to say, you’ll be exposing more skin.

And skin that is exposed can be hit by UV rays from the sun. These rays can even penetrate through glass. Thus, they also reflect off from materials like buildings and water.

May also brings campaigns involving the sun. In short, as the weather warms up get to know your skin. Be aware of any changes and protect it.

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Check Your Spots how to Observe May

Don’t Fry Day

The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has designated Friday May 27th as Don’t Fry Day. This is to encourage sun safety awareness and the importance of protecting your skin. So, don’t forget your sunscreen wherever you go

Downloadable infographics (I love these things) are available to get the word out. Inform others of the danger with being over exposed to the sun. To sum up, UV exposure from the sun is a major cause of skin cancer and can be prevented.

Skin Check Challenge

Have you heard of the skin check challenge? You can help flood social media as part of a wave!

  1. Give yourself a head-to-toe skin check. Notice anything new, changing or unusual?
  2. Now post a photo or video about your skin check. Share this online using the hash tag “SkinCheckChallenge
  3. Share a “thumbs up” image and you can be creative. Provided are photo booth frames from “SkinCheckChallenge.
  4. Final step, invite two friends to follow you also taking this action.

Check Your Spots and Know Your ABCDEs

It is important to know your skin alphabet and do a self-exam regularly. Know your skin cancer ABCDEs. Make note of any changes in your spots. For example, freckles, moles and age spots.

If you were a sun worshipper or work takes you outdoors, don’t forget your annual skin cancer screening. At your visit any concerns you may have can be answered by your dermatologist.

Areas to Check

Don’t forget these areas:

  • Between toes
  • Underneath finger and toenails
  • Palms of your hands
  • Soles of your feet
  • Genitals
  • Your eyes
  • Scalp
  • Ears
  • Lips

Check Your Spots for these

 

  • A –Asymmetry - this means one side is different from the other, if you were to split in half
  • B – Border - the outside edges are irregular, scalloped or not defined
  • C – Color - there is a difference from one location to the other. May be shades of tan and brown, black or sometimes even red, white and blue
  • D – Diameter - usually lesions can be larger than a pencil eraser. However, they can be smaller when diagnosed (better to catch early)
  • E – Evolving - the spot looks different size, shape or color is changing compared to others

Be Aware of these

 

  • Skin changes - new spot, color, the shape and size of the current spot
  • Sore spot - a mole that won’t heal, causes pain or is tender
  • Mole - is itchy or starts to bleed
  • Sore mole or lump - that appears shiny, waxy, smooth or pale
  • Red lump - that is firm, looks crusty and bleeds
  • Red spot - flat and rough, dry or scaly
  • Blackish spot or streak - beneath the fingernail or toenail not caused by recent trauma (subungual melanoma)

Doing Skin Cancer Self-Exam

Actually, skin cancer is the easiest cancer to find. It is usually seen. Anyone can get skin cancer at any age. And you may not even feel ill.

You will need a hand-held mirror to do a self-exam (and skin should be visible). This will help with seeing the skin behind you. First, check your front and back in the mirrors. After that, raise your arms and look at your right and left sides.

Then bend your elbows and view your forearms, back of the upper arms and palms. With the hand-held mirror (or floor standing) check back of legs and soles of feet. Certainly, don’t forget spaces between toes and fingers. Still using the hand-held mirror check the back of neck and scalp. Part and lift your hair.

Last step, look at your back and buttocks with the hand-held (or floor standing) mirror. Take notes and keep a journal. In conclusion, this will help with consulting your dermatologist.

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Share Your Story

During the month of May, if skin cancer has affected you share your story on social media. This can be done on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. In addition, use this hash tag, “MySkinCancer Journey”. Get involved!

It is the month to do it. In other words, you are a skin cancer warrior!

Fundraiser Page

Create a fundraiser page you could honor a loved one or just raise funds. Most importantly, you support the Skin Cancer Foundation in saving lives.

 

Spread the message by requesting your family, friends, coworkers and neighbors for donations. For Skin Cancer awareness Month toolkits images and post suggestions are provided. And to set up a page.

The Big See

Because skin cancer is the kind you can actually see. But still, it is usually overlooked in the early stages. This is why the Big See Campaign was launched.

So, you could gain knowledge about your skin. Certainly, check yourself with your mirror.

Recall these three easy words:

  • NEW
  • CHANGING
  • UNUSUAL

This could save your life.

Start Young

Do you have a connection to a teacher? Sun Smart U provides resources for them to teach kids sun safety. This includes free lesson plans for the local school district. In addition, educational posters are available in the online store. Therefore, great to display in your classroom, community center or workplace.

 

Sun Exposure Prevention

No matter what the weather is sun protection is essential each day of the year. And sun safety should become an everyday practice. You could be mowing your lawn, at the ballgame or out for an afternoon stroll but avoid getting sunburn. Thus, lower your chance for skin cancer.

Be prepared for outdoor events and sun exposure. Take your sunscreen along. I have a tube in my purse. To sum up, apply and re-apply.

This is throughout your day and even when it’s cloudy out. If possible, wear your long-sleeves and seek shade. Know your risks. Visit your dermatologist for a yearly exam.

tomas-salas-ZSvlTa6yARw-unsplash check your spots

What to Pack in Your Tote

To stay sun safe for summer fun toss these in your tote. Keep your bag handy to grab on the go.

  • A thin clothed long-sleeve shirt, shawl or wrap
  • Hat with wide brim to shade your face, head, ears and neck
  • UVA and UVB blocking sunglasses
  • Sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher that is broad spectrum (both UVA and UVB) protection

Your skin can be damaged in just 15 minutes without protection from the sun.

Wrapping it up

Make a special point to observe your spots this May. That is to say, look at any freckles, warts, moles, lesions and so on for changes. Above all, take notes of areas and be aware if they suddenly look different.

In conclusion, skin cancers mainly develop from over exposure to the sun. Know your ABCDEs. Wear sunscreen and clothes to cover skin.

Do you protect yourself from the sun? How so?

Mary

Mary is the founder of All About Our Skin. Former esthetician and CPC. Enjoys researching skincare and has been studying our skin for the past fifteen years.

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