The month of May was earmarked as #skincancerawarenessmonth in the US in 1997. It was the beginnings of a global campaign designed to heighten public awareness around potentially problematic moles and lesions, reminding people to check themselves at home. The campaign was and is hugely driven by the fact that, if found early, skin cancer is almost always treatable. It is also the only cancer that you can see so early detection is possible.
Men over fifty were also identified as the most ‘at risk’ group of developing a melanoma alongside the research that established that women are nine times more likely than men to notice a melanoma on others. This led to the more recent ‘Check Your Partner, Check Yourself’ campaign, which has been brilliantly effective at catching potentially problematic moles early.
Although you can perform a fairly thorough check with a self examination, building a full body scan in with your partner ensures you can cover the areas you can’t easily see– like your scalp, back, buttocks, behind your ears and knees. Scheduling a bi-monthly full body check with your partner is an excellent way for both of you to find and monitor any suspect moles or lesions. It may seem embarrassing at first but will soon become routine if you commit to it!
We shared a post a couple of weeks ago with advice on how to spot Melanoma warning signs using the ABCDE method. With that in mind, below are our tips for how to thoroughly check your partner’s skin, and them yours!
- Examine your partner’s body from and back, then look at the right and left sides with their arms raised.
- Bend elbows look carefully at forearms, underarms and palms.
- Examine the back of their neck and scalp. Part hair for a closer look.
- Check their back and buttocks.
- Finally look at the backs of their legs and feet, the spaces between their toes and the soles of their feet.
And please consult with your GP or dermatologist immediately if you develop any new moles or if any of your moles change in size, shape or colour, or have any skin abnormality such as a lump, ulcer, lesion or skin discolouration that hasn’t healed after 4 weeks. While it’s unlikely to be skin cancer it’s always better to get checked.