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Four Steps to Take when Checking for Skin Cancer

Update Date: Aug 30, 2014 09:40 AM EDT

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer within the United States. When caught early on, skin cancer can be treated effectively. However, in order to treat this disease, it has to be diagnosed first. Here are four steps to take when checking your skin for signs of cancer.

1. Go to a Bright Room

First and foremost, go to the brightest room in your house. If your house's lighting is not that bright, you can also go a room outside of your home, like a spa, where you can be comfortable taking the time to check your skin. Keep in mind to use rooms with long mirrors so that you can cover all regions of the body.

2. Remember ABCDE

The acronym, ABCDE, can help people remember what they need to check. All five letters indicate warning signs that a mole might not be benign. The letters stand for:

Borders of the mole are uneven
Color is not uniform
Diameter is larger than size of a pencil eraser
Evolution of the mole-growth, inflammation, itching

3. Check unlikely places

When checking for moles, people must remember to check all parts of the body. Some of the most common places that people might skip are the forearms, underarms, palms, bottoms of the feet and nail beds.

 "Don't forget to examine your fingernails and toenails too," Franks said according to MSN. "New and unusual pigmented bands on the nails could be a sign of cancer."

4. Use a hand mirror

A hand mirror can come in handy during these checkups. Use the mirror to see parts of the body that are hard to see with a regular mirror. A hand mirror can also help you look at these parts closer.

Remember to take these steps and check your skin at least once a month. People must also remember that prevention is the key. Use sunscreen and shade whenever you venture outdoors.

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