May is Melanoma Awareness Month and today is Melanoma Monday. 137,000 people will be diagnosed with Melanoma in the US this year according to the Melanoma Research Foundation(MRF). MRF has a campaign going on right now called #getnaked. It is all about educating people to get naked and do your self skin cancer checks at home. Did you know that you are more likely to find your melanoma then a doctor? That’s what the research shows! So it is important that you know your skin and keep an eye on it. I encourage you to visit http://www.melanoma.org/get-involved/advocacy-initiatives/get-naked and join in on self skin checks. They have some good info on how to do a self skin exam but I thought I would give you some tips here too.
1. Don’t be shy- Your skin is your largest organ so there is a lot of ground to cover. You need to get naked and get in front of a mirror which can be the hardest part for some people. You’re beautiful, you’re important, you’re smart. Be proud to check your skin over, don’t let your insecurities get in the way of checking your skin out.
2. Use a routine so you don’t miss any skin- I like to either start at the top and work my way down, head to toe, or start at the bottom and work my way up, toe to head. You just want to make sure you aren’t missing anything and if you skip around to different body parts it can be hard to remember what you’ve looked at and what you’ve missed.
3. Ask for help- Have your significant other, best friend, Mom or Grandparent check your back and those hard to see places. If you don’t have anyone to look at your skin with you then get a hand held mirror and try to look at those places the best you can. Or grow eyes in the back of your head.
4. Take pictures- Almost everyone reading this probably has a phone with a camera. When you do your skin exam every month take pictures of your moles/freckles that stand out to you. Each month compare your pictures to see if anything is changing or growing in any way (color, size, etc.). If you have growing, new or changing moles get in to see your dermatologist.
5. Don’t forget hard to check places- Under your breasts, bottom of your feet, scalp, behind your ears. Remember, anywhere you have skin you can have a melanoma, not just where the sun has hit you. Ask your dentist, gynecologist and hair dresser to check your skin in places they shine lights that you can’t see quite as well.
Don’t know what you’re looking for? Re-read my post about the hunt for skin cancer here http://www.theskinnyonskin.net/?p=94
You should all do a self exam monthly and let a dermatologist check your skin at least once a year. Melanoma can be deadly but when caught early it could save your life. Take care of yourselves and let us help you take care of your skin. Now go #getnaked for Melanoma!
Have a wonderful Monday, week and month! Stay skintastic, Nina