Blog

May 21, 2020

Summer Is on Its Way. Is Your Skin Ready? Five Tips to Self-check for Melanoma. 

Sophia L. Thomas, DNP, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP

The COVID-19 pandemic has kept most of us inside more often, and many are working from home. As summer approaches and people begin to head back outside, it’s important to keep the health of your skin in mind. 

One in 50 people will be diagnosed with melanoma — skin cancer — in their lifetime. Fortunately, it’s very treatable if caught early. Most people, however, don’t know what exactly to look for when they self-check for melanoma. Here’s a helpful checklist you can use as your starting point: 
1.    Asymmetry — a growth with an irregular shape; one side may be larger than the other.
2.    Border — a growth with edges that are blurred or hard to define.
3.    Color — a growth with an inconsistent color, ranging from pink to black.
4.    Diameter — a growth or mole that’s larger than a pencil eraser.
5.    Evolving — a growth that looks different over time. 

This checklist is just a guideline, so talk to your nurse practitioner or other health care provider about any new or unusual skin growths. Schedule a telehealth visit and, if asked, send photos of the spot to your health care provider. As general guidelines, always wear sunscreen and keep covered up in the sun.