Two in every three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they’re 70, and with this number increasing every year, Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. While being out in the sun during a hot Aussie summer can seem like harmless fun, it’s important to know the risks for developing skin cancer and be aware of when a skin cancer check might be warranted.
A skin cancer check appointment will give you a comprehensive view of any early signs that you might have skin cancer developing. These checks can be conducted by a GP or skin cancer doctor, with the appointments themselves usually lasting around 30 minutes. Here are a few reasons why it’s important to undergo regular skin cancer checks.
Your Moles Have Changed Colour, Shape or Size
While most common moles tend to be harmless and some even benign, a mole that changes colour, size or shape could be cause for concern. This is because a mole that experiences a change in any of these characteristics is usually an early sign of melanoma developing.
Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be cause for all-out panic. If you regularly have a skin cancer check conducted by a professional, they’ll be able to track the status of your moles as well as detect any early signs of a suspicious or cancerous mole. As early detection and treatment are key in treating melanoma, getting regular skin cancer checks will give you added peace of mind.
You Work an Outdoor Job
It’s been observed that UV radiation exposure causes 95% of melanomas. Unfortunately, if you work an outdoor job, sun exposure is simply unavoidable. While applying sunscreen and wearing appropriate protection to help combat particularly harsh sun during the summer months are sensible things to do, by simply being regularly exposed to UV radiation year-on-year, your risk for skin cancer can increase significantly. If you work an outdoor job, getting an annual skin cancer check at the bare minimum should be considered if you’re not already doing so.
You’re Deliberately Tanning Yourself
While a tan is seen as desirable by the general population based on a misguided belief that it’s a sign of good health, a tan can actually be completely contrary to one’s own wellbeing. Tanning is actually a sign of exposure to UV radiation, indicating that the skin has been damaged. Ironically, this can actually speed up the ageing process of the skin, leading to increased wrinkles, sagging and skin discolouration. By deliberately avoiding sun protection measures and voluntarily exposing yourself to UV radiation repeatedly, you dramatically increase your risk for skin cancer
Catching it Early Means it’s Treatable
When a melanoma goes unchecked, it can spread uncontrollably and become very difficult to treat. This can lead to all manner of therapies being used in an attempt to destroy the cancer, or at worst, the melanoma can develop into a stage 4 melanoma, meaning it has spread from the lymph nodes to other vital organs. Fortunately, most skin cancers are treatable if detected early enough. The best way to guarantee early detection is through regular skin cancer checks.