We last talked about when to worry about a mole, so it seems a good time to explain how you should examine your skin.

How to examine your skin

Even if you don’t use our service, you should be checking yourself regularly. Our service just makes it easier.

Start by taking off all your clothes and finding a good mirror. Pay close attention to all areas of your skin, even those that that are not exposed to the sun.

Don’t forget to check your back, back of the neck and scalp. You will need a friend or partner to help you. Remember not to miss ‘hidden’ areas, such as between your toes, your fingernails, the soles of your feet and the backs of your knees.

Our service helps you tell if a mole has changed since you last checked it. But we don’t diagnose skin cancer on one examination – only a doctor can do that.

If a mole has any of the following signs, get it checked by a doctor, don’t wait for it to change.

The ABCDEs of moles:

  • Asymmetry: One half of the mole does not match the other half;
  • Border: The border or edges of the mole are ragged, blurred, or smudgy;
  • Color: The mole has different colors such as black, blue, white, or red;
  • Diameter: The diameter of the mole is larger than the diameter of a pencil;
  • Evolving: The mole looks different from others and/or is changing in size, colour or shape;

Melanomas don’t often fit all of the criteria, some may be smaller, or even in colour. The last letter, ‘E’ is the most important. Any new or changing mole should be checked.

The most common place for a melanoma in men is the back; in women, it is the lower leg.

Remember, you should be checking regularly, and if you do have a mole you’re worried about, don’t delay in seeing a doctor.