How to do a Skin Check at Home

The key to skin cancer survival is early detection.

The great thing about skin cancers is that it is on an area you can see – your skin.

It is therefore really important you know what is normally on your skin so you can detect something new or changing.  Like most cancers, early skin cancers do not have any symptoms so we rely on you or your doctor picking up changes early before they cause symptoms.

You can check your skin at home and getting into a regular habit of doing this could help you pick up a concern.

How to do a skin check at home:

  • Undress completely and make sure you have good light
  • Have a look at the skin covering your entire body. If you have not done this before just try and make note of what is there already, what is normal.
  • Check in places that may not ever have been exposed to the sun and areas such as the soles of the feet, between fingers and toes and under nails.
  • Use a mirror to check hard to see spots, like your back and scalp, or get a family member, partner or friend to check for you.

Learn what is normal for you, but also look for “ugly ducklings”, moles or spots that do not seem to fit the pattern of other lesions on your skin.

You can also use the mnemonic SCAN

SCAN your skin and look for a mole that is

S Sore; scaley, itchy, bleeding, tender and doesn’t heal within 6 weeks

C Changing: In appearance (size, shape and colour)

A Abnormal; Looks different, feels different, or stands out when compared to your other moles

N New: Most melanomas and all other skin cancers are new lesions.

If you spot a lesion of concern ensure you see our Doctor about it.