When it comes to skin cancer, one thing we know is that the sooner it is detected, the more likely you will be to have a positive outcome. When left untreated, skin cancer can be life threatening. Self examinations combined with regular skin checks and adequate sun protection are key to keeping your skin healthy…and cancer free. While there is never a bad time to have a skin check, we do have some recommendations:
Unless there is something specific concerning you, the best time to get a routine full body skin check is during autumn or winter. Skin cancer can take years to reveal itself, and even though most of the damage occurs during the summer months, changes could appear at any time. In winter we tend to cover up, and any changes to the skin may otherwise go unnoticed. Daily sun exposure can potentially cause healthy moles to look suspicious, so it may be easier to detect skin cancer in winter. Even when the weather cools down there is still the risk of sun damage, and sun protection measures are still recommended. Remember, winter is a good time to get checked, but if you are worried – any time is the right time!
It is important to know your skin and be aware of anything new which may appear. If you do discover a mole which looks unusual then we suggest booking in a skin check for your own peace of mind. Be aware that skin cancer may not always appear where you would expect. Irregular moles can be found in areas which have not been exposed to the sun, or are hidden from view, so it is important to monitor your entire body. If you can, ask someone to help check those hard to reach areas. You may find it easier to use a mirror, and don’t forget to do this somewhere with good lighting. Things to look for include moles which are changing in shape or size, bleeding, blurred edges, itchiness, multiple colours and asymmetry.
No one is immune to the risk of skin cancer, but some people have traits which could increase the likelihood of it occurring. These risk factors include fair skin, light eye colour, a family history of skin cancer, numerous moles, previous solarium usage, unprotected sun exposure and a history of sunburn. All Australian adults should get into the habit of self examination at least once every three months. It is recommended you always follow the instructions of your skin and mole check specialist, however in general a professional should assess your skin at least once per year.
At My Skin Centre we have a selection of clinics conveniently located throughout the Perth region. Our trained professionals are experienced in identifying and treating skin cancer, and we would love to hear from you. If you would like to book an appointment with one of our friendly staff, please contact us today.
With multiple locations throughout Perth and the South West there is a clinic near you!