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‘Tis the Season for a Skin Check

It seems counterintuitive but Autumn and Winter are the best times of the year to do skin health checks. We’ve compiled a few reasons why you should book your appointment now.

Why do I need a skin check?

  1. In summer the sun damages your skin. This damage can make it difficult to spot small changes in your skin.
  2. Skin lesions can take months to develop so they can appear at any time of the year, including the colder months.
  3. As the weather gets colder, we wear more clothes and cover more of our skin, making it less likely for us, our family, and friends to notice changes in our skin.

Australia has one of the highest incidences of skin cancers in the world, approximately 80% of newly diagnosed cancers in Australia are skin cancers. Two out of three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer before they are 70. Sadly, more than 2000 people die from melanoma in Australia every year.

What you may not know:

  1. Skin lesions can develop on parts of the body that are not exposed to the sun. They may develop on parts of your body that are hard for you to see and that are not often visible to others.
  2. Changes can include more than just a change in size, it could just be that a spot becomes itchy, sore or could bleed or could change colour or texture. These are also signs to be wary of.
  3. Skin checks should be done every year or more often if you have previously had a skin cancer.

What you can do to prevent skin cancers?

Remember the cancer council campaign: Slip. Slop Slap, Seek, Slide – Slip on a shirt, Slop on sunscreen, Slap on a hat, Seek shade and Slide on some UV protection sunglasses. Check your own skin regularly and look for any of the changes mentioned above. Use a full-length mirror to do this.

What to look for:

The Cancer Council has developed an ABCDE of things to look for when you check the spots on your skin:

A  is for asymmetry. Is the spot asymmetrical, meaning does it have a different border shape on either side? It may be round on one side and not on the other.

B is for Borders. Are the borders of the spot uneven, wavey or indented?

C is for Colour. Are there differences in the colour across the spot or has the spot changed colour?

D is for diameter. How big is the spot? If it is more than 6mm then it should be checked by a doctor. If it is less than 6mm but growing, then it should be checked by a doctor.

E is for evolving. Has the spot changed over time in colour, size, or texture? Has it started bleeding, become itchy or tender?

If the answer to any of these is yes, then act sooner rather than later, many skin cancers can be successfully treated if identified early. Love the skin you are in and book a skin check today.

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