Utah Cancer Control Program A Unified Cancer Prevention Approach

Skin Cancer Screenings

Skin cancer is becoming more common, and people are getting it at younger ages. In 2007, there were more new cases of melanoma in Utah than in any other state. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Skin cancer is one cancer which can often be seen. It is important for people to check their skin monthly for signs of skin cancer.

Click on the questions below to find out answers to some questions you may have.

How do I check for skin cancer?

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends the following steps to perform a skin check (for pictures, click on the link above):

  1. Stand in front of a mirror and look at your body, front and back. Raise your arms and look at your left and right sides.
  2. Bend your elbows and look at your forearms, upper underarms, and the palms of your hands.
  3. Look at the backs of your legs and feet, including the soles and the spaces between your toes.
  4. Use a hand mirror to look at your head and the back of your neck.
  5. Use a hand mirror to look closely at your back side.
What should I look for?

Look for anything unusual. This could be a mole that looks different than your other moles, or a spot that changes, itches, or bleeds. If you notice a spot on your skin that has changed, or an unusual mole, talk to your doctor to find out if it is skin cancer.

Other things to look for include (for pictures, click here):

  • Moles that are assymetrical
  • Moles with irregular borders
  • Moles that are more than one color
  • Moles that an unusual color
  • Moles that are larger than a pencil eraser (6 mm)
  • Moles that change over time

Also look for red patches or shiny bumps, sores that don't heal, scaly patches, or raised, wart-like growths.

What should I do if I find something?

If you find a suspicious mole or other spot on your skin, talk to your doctor right away. Your doctor can remove the mole or spot and test it to see if it is cancer.

It is important to find skin cancer early. When skin cancer is found early, it can often be surgically removed.