Got skin cancer? Find out with self-exam that's as easy as your ABCs

Brian Watt/KPCC

In the Southland we live for exposure to the sun, like these volleyball players in Manhattan Beach. One way to prevent skin cancer - a common consequence of all that sunshine - is self-examination.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer among people in the United States; one in five Americans get it during their lifetimes. In sunny climates – as we have in the Southland – it’s especially important to pay attention to your skin with easy-to-do self-exams.

All you need to check your skin for cancer is a mirror and your eyes. A second set of eyes from a friend or partner is even better for getting a good look at hard-to-see areas, such as your back, neck and the top of your head.

That’s the message from the American Academy of Dermatology. It's released a short YouTube video that demonstrates just how easy it is to do a skin self-exam.

During a self-exam, you’ll want to consider what the Academy calls the A-B-C-D-and-E’s of skin cancer.

The A is for asymmetry of a spot; B is for irregular borders; C is for varying color; D is for a diameter larger than a pencil eraser; and E is for a mole that evolves in size, shape or color.

If you have any of these signs, the Academy encourages you to make an appointment with a dermatologist who can help protect you against cancer.

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