Who’s got your back when it comes to skin cancer?

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo -- Monday is Melanoma Monday, a good time to ask, "Who's got your back?" Who's looking at your back for signs of skin cancer and helping you prevent it there?

Don Gossman has already had skin cancer on an eyelid, so he regularly checks for more cancer on his face and other areas exposed to the sun. But checking his back?

"No, it's kinda hard to check your back when you're by yourself. You look in the mirror, but you can't do it," said Gossman.

During skin cancer month, skin specialists are asking, "Who's got your back?" They say you should have a loved one or friend check your back regularly. The back is the most common location for melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

"People sometimes assume that this spot -- oh, it's been there forever, but they didn't notice that it was changing because no one has been checking their back and they can't see it," said Taryne Hensley, a nurse practitioner with Lee's Summit Dermatology Associates.

Hensley says to have your partner in skin checks look for spots that are different from others.

"Anything new, changing, or if something's itching or bleeding," said Hensley.

And make an appointment with a skin specialist if there's anything unusual.

As for prevention, a new video from the American Academy of Dermatology shows just how hard it can be to put sunscreen on your back. You need a partner for that, too. Use a sunscreen of 30 SPF or higher on exposed skin including every inch of your back.

A survey by the academy found a third of people rarely or never put sunscreen on their backs, and only a third ask someone else to check those hard-to-see areas of their skin.