As massage therapists we can be the first line of defense for our clients when it comes to skin cancer. We see a lot of skin, and we see skin in places our clients can’t always get a good look at. It is the largest organ of the body and detecting this type of cancer is a visual task. Melanoma is deadly and early detection will save lives! This type of skin cancer affects about 50,000 people each year and can metastasize into the lymph nodes, organs and blood.
It is important that massage therapists are well versed in identifying these potentially harmful places on the skin. To be educated and confident about the subject will benefit your client in ways they will never be able to thank you enough for!
Here is an easy mnemonic to remember what to look for on your client’s skin:
A– Asymmetry. If you were to drawn a line down the middle of the mole would both sides appear the same? Moles that are asymmetrical need to be checked out by a doctor.
B– Border. Moles that have jagged or blurry edges could indicate a problem. Borders should be clean and smooth.
C– Color. Healthy moles will be monotone. However if you see a blend of 2 shades of brown or reds you will want to be checked especially if your mole was one color and has changed.
D– Diameter. Is your mole smaller than the end of a pencil eraser? If it is not this would indicate an abnormal size.
E– Evolving. Melanoma changes quickly. Be aware of height changes, itchiness, bleeding or texture change.
While it is not our role to diagnose any client’s ailment, our nurturing demeanor doesn’t need to alarm or frighten but can encourage them to seek a physician’s opinion if we do find a mole that fits the ABCDE model. Skin cancer can have a 100 percent survivor rate and we have the opportunity to contribute to a happy statistic and a happy client!
Have you ever had a suspicious mole? What did you do about it? We’d love to hear from you!