Getting through your treatment for melanoma is an emotionally charged and exhausting experience. Naturally, you will be extremely relieved and happy when you have successfully completed your treatment. However, once your treatment is over, you should make sure that you take every precaution to ensure that the cancer does not reoccur. This means that your follow-up care is extremely important, and while your doctor will support you in follow-up care, there is a lot you can do to help yourself at home. Here are some guidelines to help.
Examine Your Skin
Being alert all the time is one of the best things you can do. This will help you to detect if the melanoma is returning. If you are a person who has a lot of moles, you should examine them whenever you shower to ensure that they are not changing in any way or that new ones are not appearing. Alert your doctor immediately if you notice anything out of the ordinary.
Examine Your Lymph Nodes
Melanoma can occasionally spread to your lymphatic system. The lymph nodes are located in the groin, neck, underarms, and behind the knee. Which lymph nodes you will need to focus on depends on the area in which your melanoma occurred. A monthly check of your lymph nodes while showering is usually sufficient to detect any enlargement. However, if you feel comfortable checking more often, then you should do so. If you are not quite sure where your lymph nodes are located, then you should ask your doctor or find a diagram on the internet.
Here is a guide to checking your lymph nodes:
Checking The Face And Neck
Use gentle circular motions to feel the lymph nodes that are in front of your ear, and check both ears so that you will be able to make a comparison. Use the same circular motions to examine the lymph nodes in your neck. Be sure to tilt your head towards your fingers for each side that you examine. Press your fingers gently under the muscles to feel for any enlargement.
Checking The Armpits
When you are checking your right armpit, you should lift the arm slightly and place the fingers of your left hand in the center of your armpit and press gently. Afterwards, run your fingers along the borders and back of your armpit to check for swelling. Repeat the procedure for your left armpit.
Checking the Groin And Behind The Knees
Feel horizontally along the side of each groin area by gently pressing down and feeling if there is any swelling underneath the muscles. Use the same procedure to check behind the knee for enlargements.
You can help your doctor by performing simple home examinations that will give vital information about your health. Ask professionals like TrueSkin Dermatology & Surgery, Inc. for more advice.