Spotting skin cancer

Ahh it’s almost summer! Every Aussie knows how to have a good time under the sun.

Whether its sport, beach with the mates or a simple barbeque with the family, no one else enjoys the sun as much as we do.

Then again, no wonder Australia is the second- highest rate of skin cancer in the world.

There is 35 new cases a year per 100 000 people and the most commonly diagnosed cancer in people aged 15-29 years old. It is not just the younger people but affects everyone. Two in three Aussies will be diagnosed with skin cancer before the age of 70.

Melanoma caused 1520 deaths worldwide in Australia in 2015. Survival after the diagnosis of melanoma is high, with 86 % relative survival at 10 and 15 years. Survival rate is attributed to early diagnosis and treatment.

The big question is how do I know if I have skin cancer?

Here are a list of suspicious lesions which may require further investigations by a doctor:

  • Bleeding, ulcerated lesion that is slow to heal
  • Pigmented lesions with any changes to colour, shape, texture or size
  • Fast growing lumps
  • Scaly red patches that do not resolve with topical creams
  • ‘Ugly duckling’ sign- the bigger, darker and more irregularly shaped compared to other moles in the body
  • New or changing pigmented band on the nail

There are a couple of risk factors that makes you more susceptible in developing skin cancer.

Do you have fair skin? Does your skin burn easily? Do you have a family history of skin cancer? Do you spend a long period of time outdoors? The more yes’ you answer to these questions along with other risk factors a GP may ask, the more likely you are to have skin cell trauma from the UV rays of the sun. However, if you don’t have these risk factors, that doesn’t mean you cannot get skin cancer. Anyone can get skin cancer! Make sure to SLIP SLOP SLAP before you step outside!

If worried, make sure to see a doctor for skin checks. Dr Nagree is our go to doctor when it comes to skin health.


Picture from Cancer Council and for more info click this link.