How to Check For Skin Cancer

Find out how to check for skin cancer, as you are aware the Australian climate can be brutal with ultra violet rays and heat. Australia is known for its stunning beaches and abundant sunshine, is also notorious for having one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. With the country’s climate and outdoor lifestyle, it’s imperative for Australians to be vigilant about monitoring their skin health.

Skin cancer, if detected early, is highly treatable, making regular self-examinations and professional screenings crucial. In this guide, we’ll delve into the various types of skin cancer prevalent in Australia, risk factors to consider, and detailed steps on how to perform self-checks effectively.

skin cancer check melbourne

Detecting Skin Cancer in Australia

Skin cancer is the abnormal growth of skin cells, primarily caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or artificial sources like tanning beds. In Australia, three main types of skin cancer are prevalent:

  1. Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC): The most common form of skin cancer in Australia, BCC typically appears as a pearly lump or a scaly, reddish patch that doesn’t heal. It tends to develop on areas frequently exposed to the sun, such as the face, neck, and hands.
  2. Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC): SCC often presents as a red, scaly spot or a sore that doesn’t heal. It tends to occur on sun-exposed areas like the face, ears, neck, and hands. While less common than BCC, SCC can spread to other parts of the body if left untreated.
  3. Melanoma: Although less prevalent than BCC and SCC, melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer. It can develop from existing moles or appear as new, unusual spots on the skin. Melanoma can occur anywhere on the body, including areas not exposed to the sun.
how to check for skin cancer

Risk Factors for Skin Cancer

Several factors increase the risk of developing skin cancer:

  1. Sun Exposure: Prolonged exposure to UV radiation, especially during peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), increases the risk of skin cancer.
  2. Fair Skin: People with fair skin, light hair, and light-coloured eyes are more susceptible to skin damage from UV radiation.
  3. Family History: A family history of skin cancer can predispose individuals to the disease.
  4. Moles: Having numerous moles or atypical moles (dysplastic nevi) increases the risk of melanoma.
  5. Previous Skin Cancer: Individuals who have had skin cancer before are at a higher risk of developing additional skin cancers.

Performing Self-Examinations for Skin Cancer

Regular self-examinations are essential for detecting skin cancer early. Follow these steps to perform a thorough self-check:

  1. Choose a Well-Lit Room: Perform the examination in a brightly lit room with a full-length mirror and a handheld mirror.
  2. Undress Completely: Remove all clothing to thoroughly inspect your skin from head to toe.
  3. Use a Mirror: Hold the handheld mirror to examine hard-to-see areas, such as the back, buttocks, and scalp. Use the full-length mirror to examine the front of your body.
  4. Check Moles and Spots: Examine moles, freckles, and any unusual spots on your skin. Use the ABCDE rule to identify suspicious moles:
    • Asymmetry: One half of the mole does not match the other half.
    • Border: The edges of the mole are irregular, blurred, or jagged.
    • Color: The mole has multiple colors or an uneven distribution of color.
    • Diameter: The mole is larger than 6 millimeters in diameter.
    • Evolution: The mole changes in size, shape, color, or elevation over time.
  5. Check Skin Texture: Feel for any lumps, bumps, or changes in skin texture.
  6. Inspect Nails: Examine your fingernails, toenails, and nail beds for any discoloration or irregularities.
  7. Examine Scalp: Use a comb or hairdryer to part your hair and examine your scalp thoroughly.
  8. Seek Professional Evaluation: If you notice any suspicious moles or spots during your self-examination, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist for further evaluation.

Professional Skin Cancer Screenings

In addition to self-examinations, it’s advisable to undergo regular skin cancer screenings by a healthcare professional, especially if you have a history of skin cancer or other risk factors. During a skin cancer screening, a dermatologist will visually inspect your skin for any abnormalities and may perform a biopsy if necessary. Incorporating mole mapping to detect skin cancer can enhance these screenings. Mole mapping involves taking detailed photographs of the entire body to track changes in moles over time, aiding in the early detection of skin cancer by identifying new or evolving moles that may require further examination.

Where To Get A Skin Cancer Check?

Skin cancer is a significant health concern in Australia, but early detection and prompt treatment can significantly improve outcomes. By performing regular self-examinations, being aware of the risk factors, and seeking professional screenings when necessary, Australians can take proactive steps to protect their skin health. You can book a skin cancer check appointment in our Melbourne skin check clinic in the heart of Brunswick. Remember, prevention and early detection are key in the fight against skin cancer. Stay sun-safe, stay vigilant, and prioritize your skin health year-round.

Disclaimer: The content provided on this website is intended for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice tailored to your specific needs and circumstances. Any reliance you place on the information provided in these blogs is, therefore, strictly at your own risk. We shall not be held responsible for any loss or damage resulting from the use of the information provided on this website.