Are you due for a skin check? Have you ever had a skin check?
The Queensland Cancer Council suggests that 2 out of 3 Queenslanders will get at least 1 skin cancer before they are 70.
The good news is, that if detected early, most dangerous moles and spots can be treated, significantly reducing the risk of developing skin cancer.
All GPs at SPMC can check your skin, however, Dr. Tony Blake has additional experience and qualifications in this field and is trained to treat skin cancers using a variety of techniques including nitrogen cryotherapy, curettage, medical therapy and minor surgical procedures.
Reduce your risk!
Book an appointment with Dr. Blake or your regular GP for a skin check to aid early detection.
Top Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Skin Cancer
- Examine your skin regularly
- Be aware of the signs of skin cancer and melanoma
- See your GP or dermatologist for a regular skin check
- Avoid the sun between 10am and 4 pm
- Never use tanning beds
- Protect your skin:
- Slip on some sun-protective clothing that covers as much skin as possible.
- Slop on broad spectrum, water resistant SPF30 (or higher) sunscreen. Put it on 20 minutes before you go outdoors and every two hours afterwards. Sunscreen should never be used to extend the time you spend in the sun.
- Slap on a hat – broad brim or legionnaire style to protect your face, head, neck and ears.
- Seek shade.
- Slide on some sunglasses – make sure they meet Australian Standards.
Am I at Risk?
Unfortunately, everyone is at risk of skin cancer, however, your risk increases as you get older and if you have:
- fair or freckled skin, especially if it burns easily and doesn’t tan
- red or fair hair and light-coloured eyes (blue or green)
- had short, intense periods of exposure to UV radiation, e.g. on weekends or holidays or when playing sport, especially if it caused sunburn
- actively tanned or used solariums
- worked outdoors
- a weakened immune system, which could be caused by taking certain medicines after an organ transplant (immunosuppressants) or by ongoing blood conditions such as chronic leukaemia
- lots of moles on your body or moles with an irregular shape and uneven colour
- a previous skin cancer or a family history of skin cancer
- certain skin conditions such as sunspots
Note: If you have olive or very dark skin you have more protection against UV radiation because your skin produces more melanin than fair skin does, however, you can still develop skin cancer.
CHECK YOUR OWN SKIN
In between skin checks performed by your GP, it is important to routinely check your own skin.
If you identify any changes to your skin (in particular any moles, freckles or unusual skin spots that are new, changed appearance or are of concern to you) an appointment should be made as soon as possible with your GP for a skin check.
The ABCDE checklist is a useful tool to identify potentially more serious skin cancers (e.g. melanoma) when checking your own skin:
Asymmetry – if your mole is not a regular shape that can be divided equally in two, it may be abnormal.
Border – an uneven border around your mole or freckle may be an indication of a developing melanoma.
Colour – inconsistent colouring across the surface of a mole is often a warning sign. Different shades of colour may be a sign that the mole should be checked.
Diameter – it’s possible to identify melanoma before they get to a large size, but usually, melanomas are much larger than the average freckle or mole. If it is small, but fulfills one of the other categories, it is important to get it looked at by your GP.
Evolving – If your mole is changing in any way, such as colour and feel (e.g. is itchy), an appointment should be made with your GP as soon as possible.
Photos courtesy of the Melanoma Institute of Australia – melanoma.org.au