DE­TECT­ING CAN­CER

Life & Style Weekend - - SKIN CANCER AWARENESS -

When can­cer is de­tected early, treat­ment can be much more ef­fec­tive so it’s im­por­tant to stay sun smart, keep an eye out for changes and get reg­u­lar pro­fes­sional checks. Get to know your skin (and that of your loved ones) and check it reg­u­larly for any changes. Ask oth­ers to check dif­fi­cult to see ar­eas for you, such as your neck or back. If you no­tice any­thing sus­pi­cious, con­sult your GP im­me­di­ately. It’s also a good idea to chat to your GP about your own per­sonal level of risk and also get reg­u­lar skin checks from a skin clinic pro­fes­sional. Use the ABCD rule as a guide while ex­am­in­ing your skin. A is for asym­me­try, look for spots that are asym­met­ri­cal where one half of the spot doesn’t match the other. B is for border: look for spots with un­even bor­ders as melanoma is of­ten flat with an un­even, smudgy out­line. C equals colour, look for spots with an un­usual or un­even colour. Spots may be blotchy and more than one colour – brown, black, blue, grey or red. D for di­am­e­ter, look for spots that are larger than 7mm. Here are some spe­cific changes to look out for: • new moles or skin spots • moles or skin spots that have changed shape, size or colour, or that bleed • any crusty, non-heal­ing sores • small lumps that are red, pale or pearly in colour • new spots, freck­les or any moles chang­ing in colour, thick­ness or shape over a pe­riod of weeks to months (es­pe­cially those dark brown to black, red or blue-black in colour). You can also find more in­for­ma­tion and fact sheets on Can­cer Coun­cil web­site www.can­cer­coun­cil.org.au. While early de­tec­tion is key, preven­tion is al­ways bet­ter than cure.

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