Aside

The Healthy Bear Talks About Skin Cancer

Hey there Guys,

Today I wanted to share a post to highlight the risks of melanoma.

Having grown up in Australia I’ve had my fair share of sun and sun-burns with more then a handful of my mates having had skin cancers.

As mentioned in the video above some of the major risk factors  skin cancer and melanoma include:

  • A high number of moles on the body. This is sometimes called dysplastic naevi syndrome.
  • A family history of melanomas
  • Fair skin that burns easily
  • Previous skin cancers of any type
  • Depressed immune function
  • Any significant sunburns from an early age.

By far the most important key to picking up early skin cancers is to get a regular skin check every year. Early detection of skin cancer can make the difference between something that can be removed with a minimal scar compared to major surgery and other treatments.

Of course, if you have any moles or marks on your skin you are worried about it’s best to see your doctor as soon as you can.

Some important features that may indicate an early skin cancer include:

A Any mole that is asymmetrical or atypical:
This is any mole that looks different to the other moles on your body. Most moles are fairly symmetrical, if you were to draw a line across the middle do both sides look similar?
If not get it checked by a doctor.

B What is the border of your mole like? Most moles have a smooth border along the edge. If you notice that the border is not smooth this is a signal to get it checked by a doctor.

C Colour: Any moles with more then one colour or a change of colour is suspicious and needs to get checked.

D Diameter: Any mole that is bigger then the eraser we would see on the end of a pencil needs to be checked. Moles that are undergoing cancerous change can start to change shape and grow. Be sure to let your doctor know if you have had any moles that have shown any sudden changes in shape, feel or texture. Other changes can include itch, bleeding and discomfort.

Get a skin check

Skin checks are a very simple procedure and can be done by most family doctors. A straight forward skin check can usually be done in a 15 minute appointment.

As part of your skin check expect to disrobe to your underwear. All your  skin will be viewed from head to toe and that includes behind the ears, the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet. If you have any spots under your underwear be sure to alert your doctor to them so they can be checked as well.

Some doctors may use a special light that can help show the structure of the moles. This can help show some features that are not able to be seen with just the eye. Some doctors are equipped to be able to keep track of moles with a photographic record.

These technologies are great but if there are any moles that are worrying the key to diagnosis is either take a biopsy or removing the mole and looking at it under a microscope.

So guys with summer well and truly here it’s a great reminder to get your skin checked. Book in to see your doctor if you have any worries or questions. Don’t forget to use sunscreen and a good quality hat to help protect your skin during this hot summer.

Yours in good health.

Dr George