No one knows you better than you do. You know which kinds of movies you like, which foods taste good to you and which ones do not, and you know exactly what you look like first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
So no one is more qualified than you to keep an eye on you. Doctors often stress the importance of checking yourself for new moles and examining the moles you already have for changes that could be early signs of melanomas.
It’s important for us to be our own best health care advocates, though of course doing so does not alleviate doctors from their duty to look for and notice changes and make accurate diagnoses based on the information they gather from observation, tests, examinations and other means.
While it’s essential to look for changes in color or shape or sensation in the moles you have, it is at least as important to keep an eye out for new moles. Popular Science reports that approximately 70 percent of melanomas involve new spots rather than moles you already have.
That statistic comes from a new study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology that looked at 38 melanoma studies and averaged their results.
Depending on how you feel about having others look closely at your body, another bit of advice might be well-received or not-so-well: because you see you every day, it’s a good idea to have someone else (a partner, for instance) regularly look at your body to see if they spot any new moles or spots. They might well notice what you overlook. It’s a smart, simple, cost- and time-effective tactic to employ to help prevent skin cancers.
It bears repeating that your preventive self-care does not relieve doctors of providing a standard of care that includes accurate, timely diagnoses of medical issues such as cancer.
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