Did you know that two in three Australians will develop skin cancer in their lifetime? The good news is that if skin cancer is caught early, it can be treated with little or no scarring and there are high odds of eliminating it entirely. Often, your doctor may even detect the growth at a precancerous stage before it becomes a full-blown skin cancer.
While our doctors at Family Health GP Sunnybank Hills encourage everyone to have an annual skin check, it’s also important to check your own skin once a month so you’ll notice quickly if any changes occur. Here’s how to perform a skin check on your own body and what to look out for.
If you draw a line through a mole and the two halves do not match (meaning it is asymmetrical), this is a warning sign for melanoma.
The borders of an early melanoma tend to be uneven as opposed to a smooth border.
A mole that has a variety of colours is a warning sign. This includes different shades of brown, tan, black, red, white and blue.
Melanomas usually have a large diameter (about 6mm) however if detected early they can be smaller.
If a mole starts to evolve or change in any way, like shape, colour, itch or bleed, this could be a warning sign and you should see your doctor.
During a full skin check, a skin cancer doctor will closely examine and analyse skin lesions using a handheld microscope called a dermatoscope. It allows your doctor to see under the surface of the skin and distinguish between benign and malignant tumours. It also helps determine the surgical margin for skin cancers. Skin cancers often have indistinct margins and a dermatoscope can help identify them to ensure that cancerous cells are not left behind during removal.
Are you worried about past sun exposure? Have you noticed changes in a mole? If you have any concerns, please call our friendly staff at Family Health GP Sunnybank Hills, on (07) 3272 2396 and we’d be happy to book a consultation.