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Hamilton Health Sciences Home
August 16, 2016

How to do a skin check with Dr. Elaine McWhirter

Why should you perform regular skin checks?

Checking your body for moles that exhibit warning signs of skin cancer is very important. Skin cancers that are found and removed early tend to be highly treatable, so by performing regular skin checks you are stacking the odds in your favour.

Be as thorough as possible when you perform a skin check. Use a hand mirror to look under your arms and legs. You can use a hand mirror in combination with a bathroom mirror to check your back, or get help from a loved one.

What should you look for? Watch this quick video with Dr. Elaine McWhirter, skin cancer specialist at Juravinski Cancer Centre.

Remember- A-B-C-D-E when you check your moles

Asymmetry: Check for moles that aren’t round or oval and have uneven shapes

Border: Look for jagged or irregular borders, like on a map

Colour: Check for moles that have multiple colours like red, white or dark brown

Diameter: Identify moles that are larger than 6mm across

Evolution: Keep track of moles that change quickly in size, colour or shape or become raised, itchy or start to bleed

You should perform regular skin checks and have any moles that exhibit these red flags checked out by a health care professional.

Practicing sun-safety is very important in reducing your risk for skin cancer. Melanoma is one of the most preventable forms of cancer. Stay sun safe this summer with these quick sun protection tips from skin cancer specialist, Dr. Elaine McWhirter.