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Skin Self-Examinations

By editor
February 4, 2019

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. In fact, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. It is estimated that approximately
9, 500 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. But did you know, Melanoma, when detected early, has a survival rate of 98%?

Skin Self-Examination

Early detection is key when it comes to diagnosing, and surviving, cancers such as skin cancer. Skin self-exams are recommended between office visits to help detect skin cancer. It is important to know what your skin looks and feels like so you can identify any changes quickly. Conduct a head-to-toe self-examination of the skin every month by using these steps:

What you'll need:
  • Well-lit area and/or a bright light
  • Full-length mirror
  • Hand mirror
  • Two chairs
  • Comb
  • Body map and a writing utensil
  • It may also be helpful to have a partner to help
Step 1: Examine your face in the mirror. Be sure to include tricky areas such as the ears, mouth, lips, and nose.


Step 2: Using a comb to move hair out of the way, inspect the scalp. It may be helpful to have a partner help with this part of the exam to ensure a thorough check.


Step 3: Check the hands and arms thoroughly. Be sure to check both the palms and backs of the hands, including between the fingers and under the fingernails.


Step 4: Next, check the chest, torso, and front of the neck in the full-length mirror. Don't forget the underarms. Ladies - be sure to lift the breast to check the underside.


Step 5: Face away from the large mirror and use the hand mirror to examine the back of the neck, shoulders, upper back, and any other areas not easily seen in steps 3 or 4.


Step 6: Examine the fronts and backs of the legs and buttocks using the technique in step 5.


Step 7: Sit on a chair and prop one leg with a second chair or stool. Using the hand mirror, examine the genitals.


Step 8: Finally, check the ankles and feet. As done with the hands, be sure to check the tops and bottoms of the feet, including in between toes and under toenails. Pay special attention to the sole and heel of the foot, spots under the foot are often rare.

If you find anything during your self-exam, make a note where they are on the body map and schedule an appointment with our office to have your doctor or provider take a look.

For more information about Medical Dermatology, or to request an appointment, please complete our online form or call 970-926-9226 (Vail), 970-927-2800 (Willits), 970-710-2400 (Spring St.), 970-668-0998 (Breckenridge) or 970-930-6490 (Glenwood).




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Vail Dermatology

1140 Edwards Village Blvd, Suite B-200
Edwards, CO 81632
Get Directions
Tel: 970-926-9226
Fax: 970-926-8755

Aspen Dermatology at Willits

261 Robinson Street, Suite C-100
Basalt, CO 81621
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Tel: 970-927-2800
Fax: 970-926-8755

Breckenridge Dermatology

984 N. 10 Mile Dr. , Suite 103
Frisco, CO 80443
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Tel: 970-668-0998
Fax: 970-926-8755

Aspen Dermatology on Spring St.

300 S. Spring St., Suite 103
Aspen, CO 81611
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Tel: 970-710-2400
Fax: 970-926-8755

Glenwood Dermatology

919 Grand Ave,
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
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Tel: 970-930-6490
Fax: 970-926-8755