There is a high incidence of skin cancer in Australia, which means it is likely you will have a suspicious mole that needs attention at some point in time. A regular skin cancer check can identify such moles and work out if they’re cancerous or precancerous. The quicker you get onto this, the more options you will have for treatment. This article will outline the two kinds of skin cancer checks you can have, as well as the importance of intervening early if you have suspicious moles.
Skin Cancer Self-Check
A home skin cancer self-check is the first line of defence against suspicious moles, and identifying them early could play a large part in saving your life. All you need to do is to use the simple acronym ABCDE to inspect your skin in a skin cancer check at home. The acronym stands for:
A – asymmetry
B – border
C – colour
D – diameter
E – evolving
What this acronym really means is that suspicious moles may be asymmetrical, have a jagged border, be multi-coloured, and evolve in appearance over time, even growing in size. You should perform a skin cancer check at home once a month, especially if you have a history of suspicious moles or skin cancer. If you find anything worrying, make an appointment to see a doctor for a professional skin cancer check. You can tell them about any suspicious moles that might need medical attention, making sure that they are thoroughly checked.
Professional Skin Cancer Check
You can see your GP, a doctor at a skin cancer clinic or a dermatologist in order to get a skin cancer check. A skin cancer check is usually quite brief, especially if you’ve never had skin cancer before. You will take your clothes off down to your undergarments and put on a medical gown. You doctor will look at every inch of your body during the skin cancer check, paying particular attention to hard to reach places such as the scalp, buttocks, behind the ears and between the toes. You doctor will only include the genital region in the skin cancer check if you report that there is a suspicious mole in that area. Your skin cancer doctor may use a dermascope to take a closer look at various lesions on the body, checking for evidence of skin cancer. Having a professional skin cancer check is a good idea if you find anything strange on your body during a self-check, but you may like to have a professional skin cancer check once a year to be on the safe side.
Prevention is Always Better than a Cure
The old adage ‘prevention is always better than a cure’ rings true when it comes to skin cancer. A skin cancer check can bring attention to precancerous moles before they become life-threatening. That buys you time to do something about your suspicious moles that can minimise their threat to your life. In Australia, skin cancer is high in frequency, with more than 60% of Australians receiving a diagnosis of skin cancer before the age of 70. With that statistic in mind, it’s imperative that everyone is conducting a regular skin cancer check at home as well as getting a professional skin cancer check done once a year to make sure nothing has been missed. It doesn’t take much to have a look at your own skin or get a doctor to do so, and these simple actions could save your life.