Do you protect your skin? Do you check your skin?
Australia has the highest rates of melanoma in the world so it’s important to get regular skin checks. At your next visit, ask your GP how often you should perform self-checks and what you should look out for. If you notice changes in your skin, you’ll need to book-in for a professional check.
Melanoma in Australia
- 2 in 3 Australians are diagnosed with some form of skin cancer by the age of 70.
- Melanoma is the third most common cancer in Australia, with a death every five hours due to melanoma.
“The good news is that melanoma is often identifiable at an early stage where simple treatment can result in a complete cure,” said Dr Michael Hanson.
Dr Hanson has considerable experience in skin cancer screening and management. He worked as a doctor in Queensland (which has the highest rates of skin cancer in Australia) and was mentored by a clinician from the Melanoma Institute.
There are many risk factors that increase the chances of melanoma, including:
- fair skin
- high mole count
- family history
- pattern of sunburns throughout life, especially during childhood.
Prevention and Self-Checks
Try to become familiar with the look of your skin, so you can pick up any changes that might suggest a skin cancer. Look for:
- any crusty, non-healing sores
- small lumps that are red, pale or pearly in colour
- new spots/freckles or moles changing colour, thickness or shape over a few weeks or months.
If you notice a strange new mole on your skin or an old mole that’s started changing, it’s important to see your GP right away. Some people at higher risk require regular, planned skin assessments.
Please note, skin check consultations are available with all GPs.