Did you know that 2 in 3 Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they reach the age of 70? It is an alarmingly high number, yet with regular and thorough skin checks, your risk of skin cancer could be reduced.
So, do you know what to look for when checking your skin? Dr Mary Boyling of Australian Skin Cancer Clinics in Maitland explains what skin cancer looks like.
“ Changes in the skin such as a mole, ulceration or scab that doesn’t heal need to be checked. Existing moles that changes in size or colour or become raised also need to be looked at,” she begins.
Early detection can mean potentially avoiding cancer with early identification and treatment resulting in better outcomes than a lot of other types of cancer.
Dr Boyling suggests using the A.B.C.D. rule for skin cancer checks
The A.B.C.D. rule is a well-established guide for identifying cancerous moles. Melanoma can have any one of the following features:
A is for Asymmetry
Look for spots that lack symmetry. That is, if a line was drawn through the middle, the two sides would not match up.
B is for Border -
A spot with a spreading or irregular edge.
C is for Colour
Blotchy spots with a number of colours such as black, blue, red, white and/or grey.
D is for Diameter
Look for spots that are getting bigger.
The E.F.G. detection guide
The E.F.G rule was created to improve detection of nodular melanoma which does not meet the ‘ABCD’ criteria. These melanomas often begin as a red nodule.
While their appearance can be mistaken for a pimple, they are much firmer to touch. Nodular melanoma usually has all three of the following features: elevated, firm and has been growing for more than a month.
If you notice one or more skin changes it is important that you visit a clinic to have them investigated further. Australian Skin cancer Clinics conduct full-body skin checks using a magnifier called a dermatoscope which helps to identify cancerous and benign moles.
The doctors have qualifications in skin cancer management which means they can quickly diagnose skin cancer and provide the best quality treatment available.
Skin cancer checks are especially important as they can help to detect skin cancer in the early stages.
When detected early, 98 per cent of skin cancers can be treated successfully so a 15-minute skin check is well worth your time and could just save your life.