Do you have loads of spots on your skin and have no idea where to begin? Skin is your largest organ, so it is important that get to know it! And although 2,000 Australian’s die every year from skin cancer, early detection can significantly reduce your risk. Only 50% of Australians have examined their skin in the last 12 months. And in an average week (over summer), Aussie’s spend 20 hours a week exposed to the sun! So it’s time to get to know your skin….. EVERY part of you…and the bits you can’t see …get a hand mirror and look EVERYWHERE as skin cancers don’t just occur in sun exposed areas (ie under arms, groin, genitals and under the feet).
It’s simple as ABCDE, so get looking.
Asymmetry – harmless moles will more likely be symmetrical, as in both sides of the mole will look the same. However melanomas are more likely asymmetric moles, meaning one side (if you cut the mole in half) will be different (larger or smaller).
Border – melanomas will have ragged edges rather not have a smooth border.
Colour – harmless moles will be uniform in colour. Malignant skin lesions will often contain mottled multiple colours (such as brown, black, red, white).
Diameter – melanomas are usually >6mm when diagnosed, but they can be detected early at a smaller size.
Evolution: is a change in the size, colour or appearance of a mole over time. Even if all the ABCD rules are not evident!
If you notice a new mole, a mole different from others on your skin, or one that changes, itches or bleeds, even if it is smaller than 6mm, you should get it checked out ASAP. Most skin cancers are found by people checking their own skin, or are noticed by a loved one. So don’t just check your own skin, check your family too.
Dr Alice Rudd is passionate about educating people on the importance of sun safety. Dr Alice will be speaking at the Skin and Skin Cancer Education Day on the 17th March 2018.
To view a detailed video about the ABCDE rules, click on the below link and join Dr Alice Rudd.