Because there’s never been a better reason to check yourself.
In Australia, two out of three people will be diagnosed with skin cancer before they turn 70. The most dangerous type of skin cancer is melanoma.
Sara Andreasson / Via saraandreasson.tumblr.com
An even scarier fact? Melanoma and other skin cancers kill more than 2000 Australians each year.
As with most types of cancer, the early detection of skin cancer is the best way to avoid surgery, disfigurement or death.
The rate of skin cancer in Australia is two to three times the rates in the US, UK and Canada.
Lucky for all skin-owners, Cancer Council Australia have published the ABCD melanoma detection guide, to help you monitor your own skin, by looking out for these signs of melanoma.
A is for asymmetry
“An asymmetrical mole can be a sign of cancerous growth, particularly in melanomas,” Dr Patricia Lowe, Honorary Secretary of the Australasian College of Dermatologists and an advisor to Cancer Council Australia tells BuzzFeed Life.
While not all types of skin cancer are asymmetrical, it’s still worth noting whether yours is an irregular shape. The best way to determine symmetry? Draw a line down the centre of your mole and check if each side mirrors the other or not. If the sides are uneven, your mole is asymmetrical.
B is for border
Blotched edges on a mole can be a sign that a spot is growing, changing or spreading, explains Dr Lowe. So, keep an eye out for faded, irregular edges.
C is for colour
While it’s a very common misconception that darker moles are more likely to be skin cancer, it’s important to note any spots that have a number of colours, including black, blue, white, red or grey.
D is for diameter
This means paying attention to any moles that seem to be getting bigger. “Once we reach adulthood, if our weight and body growth remains the same our moles shouldn’t be changing so any growth or change is worth investigating,” says Dr Lowe.
As it’s unlikely you’ll find all items on the checklist, if you notice even one of these signs, it’s important to get your skin checked by a professional.
Traci Lawson / Via Flickr: tracilawson
If you don’t have any signs on this checklist, it’s still beyond important to continue to check your skin regularly. “Moles that have been around for years can develop into a skin cancer later in life, sometimes decades later,” says Dr Lowe.
“That’s why it’s important to know your skin and what’s normal for you and go get checked out if anything changes. As well as the ABCD detection guide, keep an eye out for new moles, spots or moles that change colour, a spot that becomes raised or develops a lump within it or the surface of a mole becoming rough, scaly, ulcerated, itchy, tingly, bleeding or weeping.”
Basically, it’s important to notice what’s going on with your skin, so that when you do see something change, you can act fast.
And remember, melanoma isn’t the only type of skin cancer. In fact, non-melanoma skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia.
So, stay safe out there. Keep out of the sun whenever possible. Wear an SPF 30+ or higher sunscreen. And, check your skin regularly.