Want to know how to examine your skin for areas of concern? Get familiar with the signs and symptoms of melanoma and skin cancer – and:

Remember your ABCDEs!

If your moles are:

A = Asymmetrical (two halves don’t match)

B = Borders (borders are irregular)

= Colours (colours are many)

D = Diameter (diameter is bigger than 6mm)

E = Evolution (new or changing moles/lesions)

The Cancer Society recommends:

  • That you get to know your skin by checking it regularly— particularly if you are over 50, have a family history of skin cancer or have had any bad sunburns as a child.
  • That all New Zealanders get into the habit of checking their skin (preferably once every three months) so they can spot skin cancer early when there is a better chance of successful treatment.
  • That you ask your friend, use a mirror or ask a relative to look at the parts you can’t see. It’s easy to check your skin and should only take 15 minutes.

Your Checklist

Here is a good process to follow for checking your body thoroughly:

  1. Check your whole body—from head to toe, front, back and sides
  2. Check your head and neck—don’t forget your scalp, ears, face and lips
  3. Check the trunk, front, back and sides
  4. Check your arms and hands, including nails
  5. Check the soles of your feet, between your toes and nails
  6. Check your buttocks and legs

What to look for

Keep an eye out for these things when checking your skin:

  • any spot, mole or freckle that has changed in shape, size or colour
  • a new spot that is different from other spots around it
  • any small, dome-shaped lump that wasn’t there before
  • an outline of a mole that changes or becomes raised
  • the surface of a mole that has become rough, scaly or has become an open sore
  • a mole that itches or tingles
  • a sore that bleeds, doesn’t heal and/or has become an open sore
  • a sore that heals and has become an open sore again
  • any skin spot that you are worried about

There is also a helpful Cancer Society information sheet available for downloading here.

Cancer Society, How and When to Check Your Skin

If you have any concerns, please submit your case via the Firstcheck app today. You can have a skin specialist check it within 72 hours and let you know if you need any follow-up checks or treatment.

Cancer that’s diagnosed at an early stage, before it’s had the chance to get too big or spread is more likely to be treated successfully. Finding and treating cancer at an early stage can save lives.