If you share a close bond with your significant other, you may want to consider giving them a skin exam this Valentine’s Day and asking them to do the same for you.
Melanoma and non-melanomas can be tricky to spot on one’s own skin, especially on the scalp and back. For men in particular, one third of melanomas are found on the back. Men are also much less likely to examine their own skin, and studies have shown that when skin cancer is found at an early stage, it is most often detected by a spouse or partner. Studies have also shown that couples who check one another for skin cancer tend to do so more thoroughly than people who perform skin self-exams alone.
If you find a suspicious spot on your spouse, urge them to see a dermatologist right away for proper diagnosis. Melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, the three most common types of skin cancer, are treatable when detected early. So help ensure you and your valentine are around for many Valentine’s Days to come.
Skin Cancer Warning Signs from the Skin Cancer Foundation
- A skin growth that increases in size and appears pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black, or multicolored.
- A mole, birthmark, beauty mark, or any brown spot that: changes color, increases in size or thickness, changes in texture, is irregular in outline, is bigger than 6mm or 1/4”, the size of a pencil eraser, appears after age 21
- A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab, erode, or bleed.
- An open sore that does not heal within three weeks.
Look for any of the warning signs when you perform a self-exam. If you notice any change in an existing mole or discover a new one that looks suspicious, see a physician immediately.
To find out more about how to spot a skin cancer and for information on self-exams, visit www.skincancer.org/Self-Examination/.
Reference: The Skin Cancer Foundation.