How to check your skin for Melanoma
It’s mid August in Australia and if you’ve been exposed to the direct sun it's starting to get hot.
It’s estimated that over 16,000 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in Australia this year.
So one question that may be looming over you is “Should I get my skin checked?”.
I only know to well the importance of getting skin checked. In 2016 my wife noticed a spot on my back and off I went for my first skin check in 10 years! That’s right 10 years. The result. Stage 1 melanoma. I was fortunate.
So should you get your skin checked. YES!
Now, in the midst of Covid and most of Australia in lockdown getting in front of a doctor is difficult.
So here are a few ways to check yourself
- Stand in front of a full length mirror in a well lit room.
- Start at the top and work your way down your body.
- Begin by using a brush or hairdryer to part your hair into sections so that you can check your scalp.
- Move to your face and neck, not forgetting your ears, nostrils and lips.
- Be sure to check both the top and underneath of your arms. Don’t forget your fingernails.
- As you move down your body don't forget to check places where the sun doesn't shine! Melanoma can be found in places that do not have exposed skin.
- Ask a partner or family member to check your scalp and back.
- The best way to monitor changes on your skin is by taking photographs every few months and comparing them to identify any changes. React quickly if you see something growing and/or changing.
Please note that this is just a guide and melanoma may present with different characteristics. This is why regular skin checks from a professional are so important so it’s worth reaching out to your GP.
A great visual guideline is this ABCDE from Melanoma Institute Australia
So, ensure you get your skin checked by a specialist before summer. Cover up. Use sun screen, wear breathable UPF50+ sun protective clothing and every six to twelve months get your skin checked by a specialist.
We all know the rules when it comes to skin care just ensure you apply them