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!
5 thoughts on “Massage Therapists and the detection of Skin Cancer”
Very informative read. I have quite a few moles of my own, and I come by it honestly as everyone in my mediate family has at least a couple. I have had mine checked out long before I started at CCC and am in the clear, but am glad that this topic was one of the first things I learned about in class. It is nice to know how to identify good from bad on myself as well as others.
This sure hits home for me, I have a skin disorder but should say I am glad it is nothing I need to worry about too much. I did have a family member who had skin cancer. Sometimes we need to step in and educate people around us to check things out on their bodies. Our bodies speak to us we need to listen.
I dont have many moles. None of them have been suspicious. I had my primary care provider check them during a visit three years ago and there was nothing to fear.
As an aesthetician, I am always happy to see the word getting out. Please not only keep an eye out, but let them know you’re doing it and use that as a springboard to sunscreen discussion. Education saves lives.
This is some great information! I lost my father to melanoma about a year and a half ago and ever since I’ve always payed very close attention to everyone’s moles. The sooner you find it the better off you’ll be!