Anyone can develop skin cancer but you are at higher risk when you have:
Fair or freckled skin
Red or fair hair
Light-coloured eyes (blue or green)
Skin that burns easily and doesn't tan
Been exposed to intense periods of UV radiation (e.g. while working or playing outdoor sports)
Tanned or used solariums
Previous or family history of skin cancer
Sunspots or many moles on their skin
The ABCDE guideline for checking your skin (Melanoma Institute Australia)
This guideline provides a useful way to monitor your skin and detect the early signs of melanoma. Please note that this is just a guide and melanoma may present with different characteristics. This is why regular skin checks from a professional are so important.
A is for ASYMMETRY:
One-half of a mole or birthmark does not match the other.
B is for BORDER irregularity:
The edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred.
C is for COLOUR variation:
The colour is not the same all over, but may have differing shades of brown or black, sometimes with patches of red, white, or blue.
D is for DIAMETER:
The area is larger than 6 mm (about the size of a pencil eraser) or is growing larger.
E is for EVOLVING:
Changes in size, shape, colour, elevation, or another trait (such as itching, bleeding or crusting).
How do you make sure you don't miss anything?
Stand in front of a full length mirror in a well lit room.
Start at the top and work your way down your body.
Begin by using a brush or hairdryer to part your hair into sections so that you can check your scalp.
Move to your face and neck, not forgetting your ears, nostrils and lips.
Be sure to check both the top and underneath of your arms. Don’t forget your fingernails.
As you move down your body don't forget to check places that do not have exposed skin.
Ask someone you trust to check your scalp and back.
The best way to monitor changes on your skin is by taking photographs every few months and comparing them to identify any changes. React quickly if you see something growing and/or changing.
It is important to check your skin regularly for any moles or lesions for any possible signs of skin cancer. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, make an appointment with your GP immediately. Skin cancers that are detected and treated early have a better outcome.
Our doctors offer skin checks. When you book an appointment with us, we will assist you with a full assessment and follow-up care. Call 9509 5922 or click here to book an appointment.
More information and helpful resources:
Skin cancer risk factors: SunSmart Victoria