Most people are proactive when it comes to skin protection from the sun. So why not have the same proactive attitude to keeping a regular eye on skin spots and moles?
There are different types of skin cancer, with some being more dangerous than others. The more dangerous Melanoma type can grow very quickly and become life-threatening in as little as six weeks, spreading to other parts of the body if left untreated.
Keeping an eye on spots, blemishes, freckles, moles and birthmarks that are new, have changed or stand out as being different to the surrounding skin, is the first step in identifying potential skin cancers. These changes may be noticed over several weeks or months.
It is important to be methodical when checking your skin, making sure to work from head to toe, even in areas not exposed to sun. Ask a partner or family member to check your back and scalp, the latter being easier to check with a hairdryer or comb.
When checking skin there is a simple ABCDE guideline to identifying potential skin cancer and it is important that you seek a professional skin check if you notice any of the following:
A for ASYMMETRY:
A spot, mole or birthmark that is not round or one side does not match the other.
B for BORDER;
Uneven borders where the edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred.
C for COLOUR:
The colour is uneven or unusual and may vary in shades of brown or black, sometimes with patches of white, red or blue.
D for DIAMETER:
The area is larger than 6 millimetres in width.
E for EVOLVING:
If size, shape, colour, elevation, or other effects such as itching, bleeding or crusting occur then this is a sure warning sign to have the spot or mole checked professionally.
Checking skin regularly and having skin checks will compliment your overall efforts for skin cancer prevention, plus having a proactive attitude surely helps when you do enjoy your fun in the sun.