The Skin Cancer Foundation has an interesting Valentine’s Day activity that they would like to suggest to you that can even be an indicator of the closeness and openness of your relationship:  perform skin exams on each other!  Research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology shows that couples in close and supportive relationships perform better skin exams than those in “below average” relationships because they are more comfortable and less self-consciousness when allowing a thorough examination.  Now we have another reason to value a healthy relationship…early detection of skin cancer!

Performing skin exams with your partner can be helpful in detecting early signs of skin cancer because they could help to keep you on a regular schedule of exams and they are able to see closely in areas where you cannot (top of the head and every area on your back!).

Thank you to the Skin Cancer Foundation for passing along this helpful information on how to perform an easy and lifesaving procedure that should only last for about ten minutes:

  • Examine head and face; especially the nose, lips, mouth and ears
  • Check hands, including fingernails.  In a full-length mirror examine elbows, arms and underarms.
  • Examine the neck, chest and torso.  Women: check under breasts.
  • With back to mirror, use a hand mirror to inspect back of neck, shoulders, upper arms, back, buttocks, and legs.
  • Sitting down, check legs and feet, including soles, heels and nails.  Use hand mirror to examine genitals.

I think with that list it’s pretty evident why a close and comfortable relationship would be extremely helpful when conducting such a thorough exam!  There are definitely a lot of places that would be difficult to examine on your own, and it’s important to be aware of any new spots that develop.

Even though this may not be the most romantic activity for Valentine’s Day, it is an extremely important routine that you should incorporate into your life as soon as possible.  To find out more about skin cancer and self-exams, please visit:

While self exams do not replace regular visits to a physician, proper performance of self-examinations offer the best chance to detecting early melanoma.