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.