It becomes a crucial blessing in disguise to have an early identification and recognition of skin cancer. Melanoma, if detected early, is more treatable. One should learn to not ignore but recognise the early warning symptoms and performing regular self-examinations of your skin. Your medical practitioner may recommend medical tests depending on your risk factors and medical history.
Melanoma can develop on any part of the body, even those not exposed to the sun. Melanoma most commonly affects the face, scalp, trunk, torso, legs, and arms. It can also form under the fingernails or the toenails, on the palm, sole, or tips of fingers and the toes or the mucous membrane such a the skin lines the mouth, nose, vagina and anus.
A room that is not too dark is perfect for self-examination. However, one must do it in front of the mirror. Get one person checking the scalp and the back of the neck, which is beneficial. Follow the below mentioned steps to proceed with self-examination:
In front of the mirror, examine the front and the back of the full-body, then the right and left sides with your arms outstretched.
- Bend your elbows and examine the outer and inner forearms, upper arms and also arms.
- Examine the soles and the gaps between the toes and the front, sides, back of the legs and the feet.
- Part the hair, lift it and use a hand mirror to examine the back of the neck and the scalp.
- Inspect the back, vaginal area, and buttocks using a hand mirror.
- Take Images of the lesions to take for changes over time if you feel that specific patches of the skin are drastically changing.
If your hairdresser or your barber has discovered a concerning skin area, or a lesion, on your scalp or beard, or if you find any of the following during a self-examination, consult your doctor or maybe also a dermatologist.
An existing mole, the area that changed suspiciously, or the sore that hasn’t healed after two weeks.
Medical tests for early detection
Epiluminescence microscopy pr a dermoscopy is a painless medical procedure for the early diagnosis of melanoma. Using handheld equipment, a medical practitioner can examine the size, shape, and pigmentation patterns in pigmented skin lesions. Although further research is needed, dermoscopy may minimise the number of biopsies of pigmented lesions to rule out melanoma among qualified, experienced medical professionals.
Another new tool that may help us assess suspected melanoma lesions is confocal scanning laser microscopy. It is currently exclusively utilised in clinical trials or research projects and is only available in a few major medical institutes.