Skin Cancer – How to check your skin
As a nation, Australia well and truly leads the world in skin cancer rates. Statistics reveal that two out of three Australians, will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.
Queensland is way ahead of the nation itself with over 100, 000 people being diagnosed with skin cancer every year.
However, checking your skin or heading to a dermatologist once a year or so is key to staying on top of your skin health.
Apart from facilitating early diagnosis, the skin check is an opportunity to discuss your individual risk, what to look for when examining your skin, and ways to protect yourself in the sun.
You should familiarise yourself with your skin and look for new moles, sores, lumps or lesions – or those that have changed size, shape or colour.
PA Hospital Dermatologist Professor Peter Soyer said people need to be proactive when it comes to checking their skin with many patients revealing they had never had one.
"Despite all efforts to encourage sun protection in the community, we feel there is still room for improvement. A 15-min skin check from your GP could mean the difference between life and death," says Professor Soyer.
"Research has found that our exposure to direct sunlight is virtually the sole cause of skin cancer and there are several factors which influence our degree of exposure, such as behaviour, occupation and lifestyle habits, which can all be minimised by the individual's choice of protective measures."
The three types of skin cancer and how to detect a Melanoma
- Melanoma (including nodular melanoma) - a highly dangerous form of cancer.
- Basal cell carcinoma - the most common but least dangerous form of cancer and
- Squamous cell carcinoma - not as dangerous as melanoma but may spread if left untreated. A Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and if left untreated can spread to other parts of the body.